The Tennessee Titans had their chance. But yet again, it was one step forward, two steps back.
When the Titans fired Ken Whisenhunt and won a huge game in New Orleans, it seemed like they were turning a corner.
A loss to Carolina was expected. But still, there was nothing to be all that down about.
And now here we are with the Titans right back where they started. With an abysmal loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars, Tennessee has cemented its familiar place in the AFC South cellar.
The reason for it was simple: the Titans made the same mistakes that got them here.
There was the atrocious performance from the offensive line. There was the highly questionable coaching decisions down the stretch. There was the late collapse in a game that you should have won.
When will it end? Most thought it would end with the firing of Whisenhunt. It clearly hasn’t.
The Titans are who we thought they were even when Whisenhunt was around. They are a team with a lot of glaring weaknesses and one obvious strength.
The strength, of course, is Marcus Mariota. The problem is that we aren’t seeing the best version of Mariota right now. And you know why.
During the two-minute drill against the Jaguars, Mariota had more awareness than anyone on the field of what the Titans needed to do. Unfortunately, he didn’t get much help.
Mariota is never going to reach his potential without help. He simply does not have the help that he needs right now.
How do the Titans solve that problem? It starts at the top.
If general manager Ruston Webster can’t get the players needed to make this franchise and Mariota better, then there needs to be a change made. From a coaching standpoint, there’s going to be a change at head coach.
Mike Mularkey seems like a nice guy. But this Jacksonville loss wiped away of his momentum following the New Orleans win.
The Titans are now 2-8 on the season. Even a six-game winning streak and an 8-8 record won’t mean much of anything. Not that the likelihood of that happening is very good.
Something has to change. If you can’t beat a poor Jaguars team on the road, you are never going to make the leap back to being a contender.
The Jaguars are the team that the Titans have to jump to start making progress. Tennessee was five minutes away from at least moving in that direction.
But then it happened again. The Titans let another opportunity slip away.
Good luck trying to count how many times that’s happened this season. Or over the last several years.
With the loss, the Titans currently sit as the worst team in perhaps the worst division in NFL history. Think that’s a sign of a team that only needs a few minor tweaks to turn things around? Not quite.
The franchise is in need of a major overhaul. Maybe that starts with the owners, maybe it starts with those who build the roster.
This team is not going to be pretty to watch the rest of the season. We can enjoy watching Mariota’s progress and Dick LeBeau’s continued impact on the defense.
Mularkey said after the game that the Titans weren’t out of the AFC South race yet. He’s right. But that doesn’t mean anything at this point.
From last year to this year, the Titans were suppose to be an improved team. They haven’t been. And if they play like they did down the stretch against Jacksonville, another 2-14 record is all but assured.
A few minor tweaks heading into 2016 won’t solve anything. If the people running the show can’t see that, then it’s time for a major overhaul.
Titans fans are tired of excuses. They’re tired of watching this team come so close only to take yet another step back.
Mariota is the type of player we’ve all been waiting for.
The question is, if the front office can’t fix the problems everywhere else, will it even matter?