<
>

AFC South Q&A: Will Mike Mularkey finally find success with Titans?

Today's question: The big, unpopular move made by the Tennessee Titans in the eyes of many fans was promoting Mike Mularkey from interim coach to head coach. While he's forged a good relationship with general manager Jon Robinson and set a good offseason tone, Mularkey, who is 18-39 as an NFL head coach, is one of the major question marks going forward. We asked reporters covering the rest of the AFC South if Mularkey can find success in Tennessee that makes people forget his head coaching stints in Buffalo and Jacksonville.

Mike DiRocco, Jacksonville Jaguars reporter: That depends on Marcus Mariota's development. Not breaking any news here, but it's all about the quarterback, and early indications are that the Titans have found a pretty good one. The reason Mularkey failed in his two previous stints was partly because of quarterback play. He had Drew Bledsoe toward the end of his career in 2004 in Buffalo and went 9-7. However, the following year he had Kelly Holcomb and J.P. Losman and went 5-11. He had Chad Henne and Blaine Gabbert in Jacksonville in 2012 and went 2-14. Mariota is entering his second season and must continue to improve, but it appears the Titans are in very good shape at that spot. That will at least give Mularkey a chance to be successful.

Tania Ganguli, Houston Texans reporter: I would argue most people couldn't tell you much about Mularkey's stints in Jacksonville or Buffalo. They were short on both highlights and time. The situation in Jacksonville wasn't entirely Mularkey's fault, but that organization reached a point where it had to clean house and start a new era under new ownership. There are many people around the league who believe Mularkey is a good coach and can be the right fit under the right circumstances. My question is this: How long will the Titans give him and general manager Jon Robinson to do this? The roster still needs some work, though the biggest piece (quarterback) is in place.

Mike Wells, Indianapolis Colts reporter: I was a little surprised that the Titans kept Mularkey after he went 2-7 as interim coach last season. A lot will depend on how much patience the front office shows. The Titans have what I believe is a franchise quarterback in Mariota, and they're slowly trying to improve their roster. I have the Titans finishing last in the AFC South again, but Mularkey and his coaching staff have to make sure the players are continuing to develop so that they can close the gap between them and the other three teams in the division.