Titans surpass expectations in first year of Jon Robinson-Mike Mularkey regime

The Tennessee Titans ended the season with a 24-17 victory over the Houston Texans to finish 9-7. Here is a look at the season and what's next:

Grade: B

Season summary: It's going to be hard to forget the Christmas Eve debacle in Jacksonville, which caused the Titans to lose control of the division title after they'd done such good work to have a chance at it. Their performance in North Florida was terrible. But the big picture, from a much higher vantage point, is good. A team that was often a pushover in winning two games in 2014 and three in 2015 got to nine in the first season of the pairing of general manager Jon Robinson and coach Mike Mularkey. The Titans stayed quite healthy throughout the season and proved their philosophies on both sides of the ball can work with their core personnel. They also know they have their long-term quarterback. Marcus Mariota played winning football en route to 26 touchdown passes, nine interceptions and a 95.6 passer rating. At times he was excellent, and his red zone work was impeccable. He has not thrown an interception inside the 20-yard-line yet in his career.

Biggest draft needs: The Titans have two first-round picks and two thirds, thanks to their trade with the Rams out of the first pick in 2015. However, they have no second-round selection after trading up with Cleveland to get Jack Conklin. They really need cornerback help, as their corners didn't hold up well when really tested. A do-everything, No. 1 receiver would be a huge addition, as would a young, versatile tight end.

Key offseason questions

How will Mariota bounce back from a broken right fibula? Mariota was injured when his foot got folded awkwardly beneath him on a sack by Jaguars defensive linemen Sheldon Day in Week 16, and he

needed surgery to insert a plate in the leg. His four- to five-month recovery time should mean he'll be good to go when the team starts its organized team activities in the spring.

Can Robinson work wonders again? The first–year GM got a bounty from the Rams for the No. 1 pick and moved back up to land the talented Conklin. Robinson drafted a safety in Kevin Byard, who made an immediate impact, as well as a starting wide receiver in Tajae Sharpe, a fifth-round pick. Robinson's two biggest free-agent additions, center Ben Jones and receiver Rishard Matthews, played significant roles. A lot of work was done on both lines, and now Robinson needs to address the perimeter with cornerbacks and a true No. 1 receiver.

Can the Titans make gains in the AFC South? Part of the reason the Titans were in the race until Week 16 was that the Texans, Colts and Jaguars didn't make great strides. The Titans still managed to win only two games in the division. They simply have to find ways to better deal with the teams they face the most in order to become a real contender.