Mike Mularkey has assembled a veteran coaching staff for his first full season as head coach of the Tennessee Titans.
Mularkey has gone with some sage hands in retaining defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau (age 78) and running backs coach Sylvester Croom (age 61) and in hiring offensive coordinator Terry Robiskie (age 61), special teams coach Bobby April (age 62), offensive line coach Russ Grimm (age 56) and receivers coach Bob Bratkowski (age 60).
With the Titans having such a young roster, there is the question of the so-called generation gap. Can a coaching staff of senior citizens relate to a roster full of 20-somethings.
Robiskie, whose job it will be to oversee the offense, doesn’t believe there will be any problems for an experienced coaching relating to a young offense under the leadership of quarterback Marcus Mariota.
In fact, Robiskie sees the age gap as an advantage.
“I don’t think that’s a big issue for guys like myself, older coaches. It’s great to have that experience,” Robiskie said. “I think the great thing about that is a lot of us have kids, a lot of us have sons – I had a son (Brian) who was on this team a few years ago. So a lot of us have kids that are that age, and if we want to grow old and gray, those kids won’t let us. They make us keep up with what’s hip and what’s cool and all that.”
Another area where Robiskie believes the Titans staff will have so-called “street cred” is with the skins on the wall with a background of having played in the NFL and coached at that level as well.
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“It’s all good when we walk in the building and shake and see what the new culture is,” Robiskie said. “The great thing about it is that we’ve got enough guys that are experienced that when the players walk in the building and they look at us, they say, ‘Oh, yeah. He played the game. He played NFL football. He’s got a ring, he’s been to the Super Bowl. And they can respect that.’ And now it’s just a matter of getting them to buy in to what we believe and and what we’re trying to get done as a team and as an organization. That’s the positive about having a veteran staff and a staff that has been there. We’ve got a lot of coaches on this football staff who have put in a lot of time and put in a lot of hours and have put their hand in the dirt.”
As for his assessment of Mariota, and how to build around him, Robiskie said the evaluation process is only in its early stages.
“I think that, but I’m thinking that from afar. I say that from watching him when I was with the Falcons and coming out of college and watching some stuff he did last year,” Robiskie said. “I can attest to that from watching his games last year, because our divisions play each other. The fact that we played against each other did give me the opportunity to watch him in some games. And that was a plus. Just from watching that, it seems like he has the chance to be something special. He’s just got to put it all together.”