KANSAS CITY _ A report that Tennessee Titans coach Mike Mularkey could still be fired with a loss today circulated Saturday morning before the team’s AFC Wild Card Playoff Game against the Chiefs.
NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported that Mularkey might need a win today to save his job, a week after Rapoport reported the same thing before last week’s win-and-in victory over Jacksonville that clinched the Titans first playoff berth in nine years.
As odd as it sounds for the Titans to dismiss a coach who has turned around the culture from the 5-27 stench he inherited from Ken Whisenhunt, the potential for that apparently centers around the possibility of luring New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels to Tennessee.
McDaniels obviously has ties to Titans general manager Jon Robinson, as both worked together in the Patriots’ organization.
McDaniels has a reputation as an offensive guru, and might get more out of Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota, who has regressed this season after a banner year in 2016.
However, McDaniels failed miserably as a head coach with the Denver Broncos in 2009-10, being fired three-fourths of the way through his second season in Denver with a 3-9 record, and had little success as an offensive coordinator with the Rams in 2011 before returning to New England.
Also, per a league source, the Titans could fear the possibility that McDaniels could become the next head coach of the division rival Indianapolis Colts, where McDaniels could team with quarterback Andrew Luck.
If McDaniels were to become the Titans coach, it would likely mean that both the offensive and defensive staffs could be cleaned out, as it would seem unlikely that defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau would return to Nashville to work for McDaniels.
Mularkey has one year remaining on the three-year deal he received upon taking the head coaching job in 2016. He has a 20-21 record as the Titans head coach, including a nine-game interim stint in 2015.