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NFL 2016 Hello My Name is Mike Mularkey and My Impact on Your Fantasy Football Team…Meh
The Tennessee Titans hired Mike Mularkey as their head coach. The Titans did not go for a so-called genius. Nor did they rope in an offensive guru. Instead the Titans settled for their interim coach who went 2-7 in his short tenure. How confident are you feeling about your fantasy prospects with the Titans now?
Mularkey has been in the head coach position before. For three years as head coach his teams went 16-32. In those three years his offenses did not finish higher than 20th in total offense. But as offensive coordinator he had more success? The offenses he ran as coordinator with the Pittsburgh Steelers were a top-10 offense in his three season. In four seasons as the offensive coordinator with the Atlanta Falcons, he offenses were top-10 twice.
2008-2011: Offensive coordinator Atlanta Falcons
2012-2013: Head Coach Jacksonville Jaguars Record 2-14
2014- Assistant Head Coach; Tight Ends Coach, Currently head coach
Finished the season 3-13
Titans total offense ranked 30th in the league
Titans defense ranked 12th in the league
The Titans have the number one overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft.
They have a 45.6 million projected cap space. That is the 6th highest in the NFL.
And the reason:
Last season the Titans ranked 30th in total offense. Their leading receiver was tight end Delanie Walker with 94 receptions for 1,088 yards and six touchdowns. Their wide receivers just did not add up: Dorial Green-Beckham had the second most yards for the team with 549 on 32 receptions and four touchdowns. Two wide receivers tied for the second most receptions with 36, Harry Douglas and Kendall Wright. And neither of them eclipsed 415 yards for the season nor saw the end-zone more than three times, for the entire season.
Their leading rusher? Oh, that was Antonio Andrews. Andrews rushed for 520 yards on 143 carries. That means their leading rusher averaged 3.6 yards a carry. And stop thinking you could count on him for touchdowns, he sniffed the end zone three times last season. The other three running backs each saw the end zone once, and none carried for more than 250 yards for the season.
But what he does have is quarterback Marcus Mariota. Their was some talk, by yours truly, that Mariota was being drafted into a system that did not fit his skill set. Mariota overcame that limitation. He competed 62.2 percent of his passes. In the 12 games in which he played he finished with 19 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. Mariota was twice named AFC Offensive Player of the Week.
And now by most estimations they have settled for Mularkey as their head coach.
So what do you expect?
On NBC Sports ProFootballTalk, Mularkey gave and idea of how his offense may go:
“Designed runs for the quarterback, and my feelings are he can protect himself much better running the football than he can standing in the pocket, and you’ve seen it over time. We’re not going to run him, like they run Cam Newton…A quarterback like Marcus, who can and we saw it last year, go eighty yards if he has to, to be effective in the run game.”
Last season in Mariota’s first five starts he ran the ball 10 times. In the games with Mularkey as interim head coach, Mariota rushed 24 times. The trouble comes when Mariota’s stats are compared between the games with fired coach Ken Whisenhunt and Mularkey.
With each coach Mariota was sacked 19 times. That means that he was sacked 38 times for the season. He also sustained knee injuries from the onslaught of sacks under both coaches. Under Whisenhunt Mariota averaged 247.8 passing yards. Under Mularkey he averaged 225.5 passing yards. And now that Mularkey has stated his wish for Mariota to run more, can we expect his passing yards to increase?
So Mariota isn’t expected to have playes, “like they do for Cam Newton”, and the Titans have no rushing game to rely. Incredibly all the Titans have right now is Mariota, run him, with risk of further injury?
The Titans are in a world of hurt, and that doesn’t include Mularkey. They have Mariota. They have Walker. And they now have a head coach who had better offenses when he was an offensive coordinator than when he was a head coach. Meh, is a generous overestimation.
Your fantasy hopes aren’t resting in Tennessee. At least I hope not.
But wait there is always off-season for them to improve? Unfortunately, we go back to when Mularkey was head coach. There is no reason to believe his judgement of talent will drastically improve. But there is always hope. And with Mularkey not calling the offensive plays, can we rely on his offensive coordinator? We shall see. And we got you, so stay tuned.
Next up Ben McAdoo and the New York Giants.
Follow me on Twitter @neverenoughglt