Titans coach Mike Mularkey calls new offense ‘exotic smashmouth’

Titans head coach Mike Mularkey provides some clues on what the offense will look like in 2016.
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When the Tennessee Titans decide to name Mike Mularkey their head coach last month, many fans found the move uninspiring.

With a full offseason to prepare, Mularkey has plans to spice things up on the offensive side of the ball by implementing an offensive scheme similar to the one he ran during his three-year stint as offensive coordinator for the Pittsburgh Steelers from 2001-03.

With the Steelers, Mularkey’s offenses earned a reputation for their physical play, but also for their creativity. Mularkey used wide receivers Antwaan Randle El and Hines Ward in creative packages and on trick plays.

Mularkey’s new offensive approach will also likely bring changes for second-year quarterback Marcus Mariota — you can expect him to run more.

During the 2011 season with the Steelers, Mularkey’s quarterback was Kordell Stewart, who finished the regular season with 96 rushing attempts for 537 yards and five touchdowns.

During his rookie season, Mariota finished with just 34 rushing attempts. However, he had a season-high nine carries in a Week 10 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars during Mularkey’s nine-game stretch as interim head coach.

Mularkey’s goal to bring back his offense of the past might be difficult to accomplish in one offseason. Early-round draft picks on the offensive line (Chance Warmack) and at running back (Bishop Sankey) haven’t panned out. The Titans finished 2015 with the eighth-least rushing yards per game.

All hope is not lost, however, as long as Mularkey can adjust his scheme to the talent around him. Wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham had an excellent finish to his rookie season, and he is expected to improve in 2016. Although fellow wide receiver Kendall Wright struggled with injuries the past two seasons, he caught 94 passes in 2013 and he’s still only 26.

And of course, it also helps that the Titans own the 2016 NFL Draft’s No. 1 overall selection.