The Titans should crowdsource their offensive playbook

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Published on : August 16, 2016

 

 

No one has ever accused Mike Mularkey of being an offensive mastermind. He has had some success as an offensive coordinator but only when his team was stacked with All Pros. As a head coach, his efforts have been middling at best and downright awful at worst. For some reason which I cannot comprehend, the Tennessee Titans made the decision to retain him as head coach following his stint as interim coach. He got that gig after the team relieved Ken Whisenhunt of his duties in November, 2015 and he’s one of the few interim head coaches that is getting the chance to continue on the job. But maybe the Titans would be better off letting the fans call the plays?

 

You may have heard about the Tennessee Titans first preseason game and how the team raised $20k for charity by auctioning off the right to call the first two offensive plays. It’s a pretty great idea and the fact that they were able to get $10k per play is great for the Make-a-Wish Foundation, the recipient of that charitable endeavor. While it may be a gimmick, I think the team may be on to something here. We’ve all been guilty of yelling at the television hoping the coach would hear you and realize that he doesn’t know shit and you should be running the team (I’m look at you, Jim Caldwell). Well, for the first time in history, this may have been true.

 

 

The first play called by one generous fan, was a pitch to the left in which DeMarco Murray went for 15 yards. A pretty solid first play of the game indeed. The second was a play-action pass that saw Marcus Mariota send the ball 31 yards for a completion to rookie Tajae Sharpe. That’s a combined 46 yards to open the game. To put that into perspective, the next three plays called by the coaching staff went for a combined 4 yards. And the next eight plays called by the staff combined for only 21 yards. Sure, they scored a touchdown on their third drive off of a 71 yard run (also to the left side) by DeMarco Murray, but that was a combination of the Chargers defense looking like shit on that play and DeMarco’s skills in the open field.

 

 

If the team wants to succeed, it’s pretty clear what they have to do. They need to crowdsource their entire offensive playbook. The team could set up an online poll for their fans to use during games and they can vote on what will be the next play call. The internet makes all of this possible. If American Idol can do it then the NFL sure can. It would be like if the Borg were playing Madden, but real life!

 

It’s pretty genius if you think about it. If it works out then the team succeeds and will endear themselves to the fans in a way like never before. It will give Titans fans a chance to be fully emersed in their team’s season in a way no other fans can. Also, Mularkey gets to piggyback on the success of the new hive mind offensive coordinator and almost certainly gets to keep the job that he doesn’t really deserve in the first place. This is a win-win for the players, coaches, fans and organization as a whole.

 

 “Do you really think the fans are smarter that us?” “Yes, yes I do.”

 

If it doesn’t work out then no big deal. Mike Mularkey can blame the failed experiment and probably gets another chance to make things right. I don’t really see why he wouldn’t do this. The fans as offensive coordinator can’t make the team any worse than it’s been for the last few seasons. The Titans went 3-13 and 2-14 over the last two years. Come on Tennessee, make the right coaching choice and promote your fans to be the new hive mind offensive coordinator. What you’re currently working with isn’t very good. Build off of those first two plays of the 2016 preseason and for the love of Christ, win some damn football games!

 

 


Roger Pretzel’s Cloudy Crystal Ball: AFC South

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Published on : August 21, 2015

 

This season’s AFC South promises a strong showing from the Colts despite Pagano being under extra post-season scrutiny, a Texans team itching to break into the big time, and a group of Jaguars and Titans still searching for an identity.

Simmer down. I’m trying to listen to the danged old ball…

 

Houston Texans:

 photo houstontexans_zpsdtpcwqvw.jpg

 

The Texans certainly have the potential to pop-off this season. A healthy Jadeveon Clowney alongside the indomitable monster that is J.J. Watt is going to provide for one of the best pass rushes in the league. And let’s not forget the addition of big man Vince Wilfork. Veteran Andre Johnson’s departure doesn’t hurt so much with the ascendency of DeAndre Hopkins, and Cecil Shorts could blossom under a new system. But the big offensive questions remain: can anything get accomplished at the QB position, and can Arian Foster stay healthy? Unfortunately it looks like the latter has already been answered with a pre-season groin injury, but there’s still hope in the backfield with Alfred Blue.

The QB question is much tougher. I like how Bill O’Brien is working with Hoyer and Mallett equally, but unless Mallett makes some amazing moves in the pre-season, I think it’s a no brainer to give the job to Hoyer. The guy’s got more starting experience, and while not being a top-tier quarterback in any capacity, I think he’s a lot better than he gets credit for.

 

The crystal ball says:

 

Another solid year for the Texans with more scratches in the W’s column than L’s. The offense will just squeeze by, propped up by a defense that will surely put the fear of God into every quarterback they come across. The good times don’t roll on forever though as a costly divisional loss or two at the hands of the Titans or Jaguars leads to a repeat of last year’s near miss of the wildcard slot.

 

Tennessee Titans:

 photo tennesseetitans_zpsd2wnvfb3.jpg

 

Ken Whisenhunt was my top man for the job in Detroit when Jim Schwartz was given his walking papers, but with a frightful 2-14 record last year for his coming-out-party, I’m thinking Jim Caldwell is looking pretty good right about now. Obviously it’s not all Whisenhunt’s fault, as he came into a team that’s seemed to struggle in every department, hell, every facet of the game.

Second overall pick Marcus Mariota has a lot of expectations weighing on him coming into his rookie season. I love the draft call and think he’ll be a great fit with this team… eventually. It would be foolish to think that Mariota is gonna turn this Titanic around, especially with the limited weapons at his disposal. I could see Mariota and Kendall Wright achieving some chemistry together, and am super curious to see if veteran Hakeem Nicks boosts the offense or simply phones it in.

 

The crystal ball says:

 

Mariota makes a difference, especially with the fire under Whisenhunt’s ass. The Titans improve gradually around their new QB and the whole thing begins to jell. David Cobb and Bishop Sankey will share most of the touches, creating an unspectacular, but reasonably effective run game. The Titan’s aren’t contenders yet, and they won’t be by the end of the season, but with a little luck they will manage to escape a repeat of having the worst record in the NFL.

 

Indianapolis Colts:

 photo indianapoliscolts_zpsdrodosvx.jpg

 

Indy’s at the top of the heap in the AFC South and it looks like it’s going to remain that way for at least another year. Andrew Luck is killing it, and T.Y. Hilton, perhaps the best deep threat receiver in the league, got resigned this offseason. The Colts finally have a bit of stability in the backfield with Frank Gore. Sure, Gore’s lost a bit of his speed and he’s not going to get as many touches as he used to, but his instincts are still good, and he still has that battering-ram toughness that makes him so fun to watch and so frustrating for defenses. He also has the coolest nickname in the league (The Inconvenient Truth). In any case, one would be hard pressed to say that he’s not a huge step up from Trent Richardson, who I mistakenly thought was really going to make a go of it with the Colts.

With the Indy chumping it the past few years of playoffs, questions about Chuck Pagano’s competency are being raised. I think it’s a issue worth talking about, and the buck stops here, but I think it’s difficult to peg those losses, no matter how spectacular, on a guy who regularly racks up winning seasons for his team. Plenty of teams would be so lucky as to have Chuck Pagano as their head coach.

 

The crystal ball says:

 

The offense is there, but the defense will continue to have trouble keeping up with the other side of the ball. The divisional situation gives the Colts another free ticket to the playoffs where they once again lose a heartbreaker. Questions will continue about Pagano’s coaching. He’s out of Indy in the next three years.

 

Jacksonville Jaguars:

 photo jacksonvillejaguars_zpsgpmw3vju.jpg

 

I like Blake Bortles, and not just because of his funny name. I like his arm when he’s on the run and I like his release. There’s plenty of room for improvement, and I think we’re going to see some of it this year. Julius Thomas was a nice off-season present for a guy in need of quality receivers, but let’s be honest, I think plenty of teams will be comfortable double teaming Thomas in the red zone while leaving Marqise Lee open. I like the multiple options at running back, and I think Bernard Pierce makes the roster and has an impact.

Something I’ve noticed: I never see a dude in just a Jaguars hat or jersey. It’s always an entire outfit with hat, jersey, shorts, and even team color sneakers. Just on the street. Just walking around. Crazy people like that deserve to see Julius Thomas succeed with his new team.

 

The crystal ball says:

 

The most exciting games for the Jags this year will be divisional matchups, particularly against the Titans and Texans. Jacksonville has a solid shot at spoiling Houston’s playoff dream, and leaving Tennessee in the dust. The crystal ball says both these things happen. The non-divisional games on the other hand will be mostly losses with a tough schedule for a team in transition.

 

 


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