Sports, Thrill of Victory

Titans set to hire Jon Robinson as new general manager

The Titans should look a lot different coming out of the tunnel at Nissan Stadium in 2016. PHOTO BY DONN JONES, COURTESY TENNESSEE TITANS

It took a while. But the Tennessee Titans have officially found their new general manager.

The Titans are expected to hire Tampa Bay Bucs director of player personnel Jon Robinson as the team’s new GM, which on the surface seems like an excellent choice.

New GM Jon Robinson will need to surround Marcus Mariota with playmakers. PHOTO BY MATTHEW MAXEY

New GM Jon Robinson will need to surround Marcus Mariota with playmakers. PHOTO BY MATTHEW MAXEY

On the surface. But we’ll get to that.

Robinson’s track record is certainly good enough. He made some solid moves during his two years in Tampa and spent 12 years with the New England Patriots prior to that.

Working under someone like Bill Belichick for 12 years isn’t exactly a bad thing to have on your resume.

Former Titans GM Floyd Reese backed that up by stressing that Belichick and Robinson worked closely together, with the Patriots coach routinely seeking Robinson’s opinions on things.

During his time with the Patriots, Robinson helped draft players like tight end Rob Gronkowski and wide receiver Julian Edelman. Those are two big-time players.

Robinson is also a Tennessee native having grown up in Union City. So there’s clear reasons why the Titans would hire him.

However, there is another reason that is seemingly becoming more clear by the minute.

Although it hasn’t been made official, there is strong speculation that Robinson’s hiring had a lot to do with the fact that he was willing to make Mike Mularkey the team’s permanent head coach.

And that’s where things start to get interesting.

Kansas City Chiefs director of player personnel Chris Ballard was apparently one of the team’s finalists for the GM position.

Why didn’t he get the job? You can read between the lines here to answer that question:


Translation: Ballard wasn’t hired because he didn’t want Mularkey. Robinson was hired because he would at least consider it.

Titan fans won’t like this. This was suppose to be the time where the slate was wiped clean. After seasons of 2-14 and 3-13, wiping the slate clean was the only choice.

Mularkey has not been hired yet as the team’s head coach. And maybe this speculation will turn out to be inaccurate.

Mike Mularkey is looking more and more like the new permanent head coach for the Titans. PHOTO BY DONN JONES, COURTESY TENNESSEE TITANS

Mike Mularkey is looking more and more like the new permanent head coach for the Titans. PHOTO BY DONN JONES, COURTESY TENNESSEE TITANS

But let’s go with the assumption that Mularkey is indeed announced as the team’s head coach within the next week. What will we have learned?

The biggest thing would be that the Titans front office doesn’t get it. I’ve said numerous times that Mularkey is not a bad coach. His record as an NFL head coach (18-39) is not ideal. But he’s far from a bad coach.

He’s also been verbally backed by many Titans players. They’ve been vocal in saying that they’d love for him to come back.

That’s great and all, but here’s the thing: do you really expect current players to publicly say that they don’t want him back? Of course not. They are going to support him, because again, he’s done a fine job with this team in various roles.

The problem is that bringing Mularkey back does nothing to give your fan base any indiciation that you are turning things around.

Mularkey has been here for the debacle that was the past two seasons. Fans already associate him with being a part of the franchise’s dark age. Bringing him back isn’t going to signal true change, regardless of the new GM hire.

This off-season has been one of the best in recent memory in terms quality NFL head coaching candidates that are available.

There’s Tom Coughlin. There’s Lovie Smith. There’s Chip Kelly. There’s what I think is the obvious choice of Josh McDaniels.

And yet it seems more likely than not that the Titans are going to stay the course by bringing back an interim head coach that did nothing to convince anyone that he deserved the job.

It makes no sense. The only way it could make sense is if the owners are planning to sell the team.

The Robinson hire as the new GM was suppose to be a breath of fresh air and the first major step for a franchise in desperate need of change.

Robinson has the tools to make all of that happen. But only if he’s able to have the head coach that he wants in place.

That doesn’t seem to be the case.

Instead, it looks more likely that it was the hire that was made to keep Mularkey as head coach.