Who’s the coach? Mike Mularkey has changed a lot since his 2-14 season as coach of the Jaguars in 2012. And in a business in which coaches often struggle to change how they operate, he deserves a great deal of credit. But can the Titans go forward with him? The belief here is that they can’t and need to find a new face for the franchise from the outside. We’ll get an answer on his fate very soon.
Who’s the GM? Ruston Webster had an expiring contract and a poor track record in assembling this roster. Circumstances have made it difficult -- he’s worked under three heads of ownership and with three head coaches who were implementing different schemes. But while the Titans have said they don’t have an issue with his record for acquisitions, giving him a new contract would be a hard sell to a market that’s lost interest in the team beyond Marcus Mariota.
Can whoever is running things make the most of the No. 1 pick? The Titans are first up in the draft on April 28. There is no clear-cut top college prospect at this stage. As they don’t need a quarterback, will one rise to the point another team wants to trade up to take him ahead of Cleveland? The Titans need to squeeze all they can out of the pick, and that may well be a trade down to acquire additional picks.
Can they keep Mariota healthy? The offensive line has been a big issue for this team since Mike Munchak was elevated from offensive line coach to head coach. They’ve invested big resources and gotten limited results. Keeping Mariota upright is priority No. 1. He suffered two knee injuries this season that cost him four games. One was the result of an illegal hit, the other a failed blitz pickup by running back Antonio Andrews. Still, if the team can’t limit hits and sacks, it’s going to be hard for their prized QB to play full games and full seasons.
Who’s in control? Amy Adams Strunk has been the controlling owner since March 2015, and while she’s been at every game and communicates with her people in Nashville, she has no public profile. People in Nashville want to know who’s in control. Her top lieutenant, Steve Underwood, is the team’s interim president and CEO and speaks for her. He has said he’d consider staying on the job if asked, and that may be the best-case scenario for stability. The team needs to do better work showing fans its leadership and spelling out its plan.