The Titans pulled the plug on Mike Mularkey’s “exotic smashmouth” offense last month when they discarded Mularkey as head coach in favor of Mike Vrabel.
Vrabel’s background is on the defensive side of the ball and he’s hired Matt LaFleur to run the offense. At a press conference on Wednesday, LaFleur outlined some of his early thoughts about how the unit will look in 2018.
LaFleur said it’s difficult to “dink and dunk” your way down the field and that he’s going to emphasize explosive plays. Much of the onus to create those plays will fall on quarterback Marcus Mariota and LaFleur shared his impressions of the quarterback as well.
“You can see the talent he possesses,” LaFleur said. “There’s really three prerequisites to playing the position. No. 1, you have to be a natural thrower. You better be fearless in the pocket, be able to stand in there. And then the last one is those intangibles. I think he possesses all of those. … We’re going to be extremely detailed with his fundamentals and his footwork, because I think that leads to more consistent quarterback play.”
The Titans were able to advance to the divisional round of the playoffs this season and any hopes of making that the foundation for bigger postseason success in the future will also bank on Mariota doing more than he did while throwing 13 touchdowns and 15 interceptions during the 2017 season. LaFleur believes getting back to basics will make that happen and he’ll have months to focus on them before his work gets put to the test in September.