All coaching jobs have been filled except for one. And the one that is still vacant never really was.
Per a source with knowledge of the situation, it would be a “massive upset” if the Titans don’t make interim coach Mike Mularkey the permanent (as if ever is) coach.
Mularkey, per the source, is the clear and obvious preference of owner Amy Adams Strunk. The two developed a strong relationship late in the 2015 season, and Strunk wants Mularkey to remain on the job.
That preference had an obvious influence on the search for a General Manager. Candidates like Chris Ballard and Chris Polian did not want to keep Mularkey. And they said so. So they didn’t get the job.
It’s believed Jon Robinson did get the job due in large part to his willingness to keep Mularkey, who likely will be offered a fairly short-term, low-market offer to remain the head coach. With no leverage and no other NFL head-coaching options, he’ll likely take it.
And then, if it doesn’t work out after a year, the Titans can move on and try to make a bigger splash in 2017.
As to Robinson, keeping Mularkey makes sense because it gives the new G.M., in essence, a scholarship year — unless 2016 goes so poorly that the team decides to hit the reset button. Even then, Robinson could argue persuasively that he didn’t get a chance to hire his own coach, and that if he had things may have been different.
For now, expect nothing to be different; Mularkey at this point is the clear favorite to keep the job. And with a young quarterback who has plenty of potential, maybe the Titans don’t need an “A” list coach to become relevant again. Maybe Marcus Mariota’s performance will make Mularkey an “A” lister.