Now that Mike Mularkey is the Tennessee Titans permanent head coach, his most important moves now will be to assemble a quality coaching staff around him.
As Mularkey puts together a group of coaches who can help him teach and execute his system, chances are there will be subtle – but not radical – changes to the scheme. After all, supposedly one of the main reasons Mularkey was retained after serving as interim coach for nine games was the continuity that would remain between him and prized quarterback Marcus Mariota. There needs to be plenty of tweaks to the offense in order to make it more effective and explosive – no one can argue that – but the Titans are at least smart in that they won’t have to ask Mariota to learn a second system in his second year. Remember, the constant changes in schemes that plagued Jake Locker in his first couple of seasons and how counter-productive that was?
But in assembling a staff, Mularkey needs to go for some home runs. For example, it couldn’t hurt for him to inquire about the guy who was his offensive coordinator in Buffalo. Tom Clements is now the Packers offensive coordinator, but his star has fallen a bit as Mike McCarthy took back the play-calling duties when the Green Bay offense sagged in mid-season. Of course, that sag probably had more to do with injuries and a lack of play-makers on the outside than it did with Clements’ play-calling. If Clements is still being reduced with the Packers, perhaps Mularkey should call his old friend to see if he can get permission to bring him to Nashville.
There was a report from FoxSports that Terry Robiskie will interview for the offensive coordinator job as well. Robiskie is currently the Falcons wide receivers coach and worked with Mularkey when both were in Atlanta. If he can get some of the Titans receivers to play like Julio Jones, that would be a plus.
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On the defensive side, after the Ray Horton report blunder on Sunday, a source indicated that Horton, who is still under contract, is likely to stay on board. If that happens, it also means that Dick LeBeau should return for a second season in Tennessee.
There are a number position spots that are expected to be changed as well. Special teams coach Nate Kaczor (Tampa Bay), defensive line coach Giff Smith (San Diego) and receivers coach Shawn Jefferson (Miami) are already gone. Offensive coordinator Jason Michael, offensive line coach Bob Bostad and secondary coach Louie Cioffi are among the other coaches who might not be retained in a Mularkey regime.
Based on reports and sources, linebackers coach Lou Spanos, assistant offensive line coach Mike Sullivan and tight ends coach Arthur Smith are candidates to stay on board.