When NFL players get released on no notice and it catches them off-guard, they usually resign themselves to reality.
The NFL is a business.
When a NFL head coach gets axed, they say the same thing. “It’s a business.’’
Mike Mularkey had to know something was going on before his was fired. He has been around the league long enough to know you’re never safe, even if you take a team to the postseason’s wild card and divisional round.
The word leaked out early Monday morning that Mularkey had coached his final game with the Titans.
His team won 19 games in two seasons. It wasn’t enough for Titans owner Amy Adams Strunk and General Manager Jon Robinson.
They want to reach higher, having tasted how much more teams like the Patriots play regularly in Super Bowls, the ultimate in the NFL.
Mularkey is old school. His system is old school, a system that has been bypassed by younger coaches.
Mularkey’s staff was old school. He would not change them.
As Jon Robinson said in the Monday press conference, the Titans will be “going down a different path.’’
Despite Amy Adams Strunk previously saying publicly that Mularkey’s job was safe, she and Robinson agreed the franchise needed younger blood.
“Amy and I are going in a different direction,’’ Robinson said.
The Patriots spotted the Titans a first quarter touchdown. It would be the last point added to their score until the fourth quarter. Meanwhile quarterback Tom Brady’s Patriots piled up 35 unanswered points. The final game for the Titans under Mularkey was 35-14 in the Patriots’ favor.
Brady put on a high-octane offensive show that left the Titans hitch-hiking with a gas can.
At one point in the fourth quarter, the Pats had just nine fewer first downs that the Titans had run plays.
In a Boston Globe story by Chad Finn, he wrote the gospel on the Titans, as much as it hurt.
Brady moved to 7-0 against Mike Mularkey coached teams, 7-1 against the Titans. Against defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau’s game plans, Brady has produced a 7-2 record.
Those numbers had to resonate in the Titans’ camp, leading to Mularkey’s fate.
Where does the Titans’ franchise go from here? Robinson has a number of coaches he is close to throughout the years.
Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels also coaches quarterbacks and could fit what Mariota’s strengths are. Look for Robinson to offer McDaniels the job.
Robinson needs to get another quarterback, because of the fact Mariota has missed part of his three NFL seasons due to injury.
With veteran running back DeMarco Murray in the winter of his career, second year running back Derrick Henry has to make changes in his game to be a No. 1 NFL running back. Robinson will search for another running back.
Offensively they need more speed, players who can create separation from those guarding them. The whole roster has to be quicker and tougher than it is now. The current Titans lack game breakers.
Give Mularkey credit for changing the Titans’ culture.
It’s time for someone else to take the Titans to the finish line.
Joe Biddle is a WKRN.com sports columnist. He is also a member of the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame. Contact him at email@example.com.