While not all fans were excited that he was seemingly forced into Mike Mularkey as his coach, many were overjoyed to see Jon Robinson taking over the franchise. Despite recent hires, this was an outside man from an organization who wanted to win and new how to build said winner.
He had been involved in numerous great signings, trades, drafts, etc. but what made him not just exciting, but lovable was the fact that he was from Union City, Tennessee. That isn’t Nashville, Memphis, Knoxville or even Chattanooga, it is a small town in West Tennessee 35 miles from where I grew up.
Needless to say, I was praying for Robinson to be the next GM. Time will tell if that was the right thing to do or not, but for me it meant excitement. Excitement that there was a GM that I wanted in my heart to succeed and one that had all the tools to do so. He had shown just a year before that he could take a team with almost no chance of success and quickly turn them into a team that could contend for a division crown.
That is why I started very high on Jon Robinson, and let me say he hasn’t disappointed. He has been a stud making move after move out of nowhere that are reminiscent of someone playing as a GM on Madden with the “rookie” setting on.
I will get into those moves later, but first I wanted to go back to the beginning. With today being the last Sunday we will have (thankfully) before we get to see just how effective Jon Robinson has been, I wanted to take a look back at his first day on the job. What did he say? What did he hope to build? What did he promise?
“We want tough players, we want coachable players, we want smart players, and most importantly we want players with a team-first attitude.”
Absolutely. He has cleaned house of anyone that doesn’t fit that “all-in” mode. Players like Justin Hunter, Dorial Green-Beckham, Jeremiah Poutasi, etc. all of which the team had taken highly in the draft, were all shipped out because they weren’t those kinds of guys.
Instead, players like Rishard Matthews, Tajae Sharpe, Quinton Spain, Andre Johnson, and others have come in and worked their behinds off and they have been rewarded. No matter whether you are a Hall of Famer or an UDFA, if you work and fit that mold it doesn’t matter how old you are or what your past looks like, there is a spot for you on this team.
Does Jon Robinson have control of the 53-man roster?
Check. He has been remarkable in his ability to manipulate this roster and find a way to put “his” players on this team no matter what that takes. Dexter McCluster is the prime example of his control of this roster.
I don’t hate Dexter McCluster, but I think that his lack of explosion was evident when compared to DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry who looked much better in limited carries than any other running backs on this team. Despite him being a Mike Mularkey favorite, he never really progressed or showed that he would be that guy again, and if you don’t produce for the team Jon Robinson apparently doesn’t feel obligated to keep you.
There was a time at this signing where people were fearful of Jon Robinson because it seemed like the fact that he was “forced” to keep Mike Mularkey as HC meant that he was just going to be a yes man. It is a small move like this that shows that no one is pulling his strings and that he is absolutely going to do everything he can to make this team better.
When asked about what this team should look like a year from then (January), he didn’t promise anything but improvement and competition.
I think you have a hard time arguing against the fact that so far this team looks substantially better than 2015. A large part of that probably should be contributed to competition, just break it down.
Tajae Sharpe and Rishard Matthews challenged Dorial Green-Beckham for a starting spot, and the best man in Jon Robinson and Mike Mularkey’s eyes won, and the other was traded.
Matt Cassel, Alex Tanney and Zach Mettenberger all competed for the 2nd and 3rd quarterback spot and it was the journeyman backup and the UDFA that came out on top.
Quinton Spain, Sebastian Tretola, Jeremiah Poutasi, and Chance Warmack battled for the starting guard job and you ended up with an UDFA starting on one side and what appears to be a vastly improved Chance Warmack on the other side. Then it was the 6th round pick, not the 3rd round pick who was chosen as the backup.
The safety position also looks much better than expected thanks to a push from Kevin Byard and Daimion Stafford who both appear to have earned themselves a spot on the gameday roster, even if they aren’t going to start right away.
This team looks good and talented now, where as last year the team was begging to find a player who they could put on the side of the building. Now, with players like Marcus Mariota, DeMarco Murray, Derrick Henry, Delanie Walker, Jack Conklin, Taylor Lewan, Jurrell Casey, Brian Orakpo, and Derrick Morgan there are no shortages of people who need and deserve attention on this team.
With all that said, I am very happy with what Jon Robinson has done and I will let you watch the video and judge for yourself if there is anything else that really sticks out in terms of foreshadowing.
Titans fans can take solace in the fact that Jon Robinson has shot us straight for his entire tenure here and things are looking up. From no one, we shouldn’t expect any coach speak or white lies, only results from here on out which is exciting.