Is Marcus Mariota a Franchise Quarterback?
Much like the team, Mariota has shown flashes of greatness but has often been held back by inconsistency and injuries. With the Titans importing Ryan Tannehill this offseason, it’s fair to ask whether his own team has much confidence in him. Drafted 2nd in 2015, he came in with lofty expectations and though he hasn’t been a bust, he hasn’t lived up to those expectations either. Mariota did look good in the playoffs last year, even leading his team to a win, and that can’t be forgotten. But no one can win a super bowl with a quarterback that’s as inconsistent as Mariota has been. Mariota needs to prove he can harness his potential and turn in an elite, great season to reinforce his team’s faith. My guess is that this will be his judgement season for the Titans. If he struggles early to start this year, they may decide that it’s time for them to move on.
How much of an impact will Matt Lafleur’s departure have?
Matt Lafleur was the Titans offensive coordinator last season before departing to be the head coach of the Packers. Although the Titans weren’t great last season offensively, ranking 8th worst in yardage, a large part of that was due to injuries and a lack of depth. At the very least, the Titans showed some innovation and creativity offensively with their utilization of Derrick Henry and Dion Lewis together. The Titans head coach Mike Vrabel is a lot more defensive minded, so having a strong offensive coordinator to support him is a must. Lafleur’s replacement Arthur Smith doesn’t have any play calling experience so it's risky giving him this much power. For better or worse, we’ll find out just how important Matt Lafleur was to the team.
Can this core ever become Super Bowl worthy?
Perhaps the most important question for the Titans is whether this team is one that can become a contender. They’re pretty solid defensively ranking 3rd best in points allowed and 8th best in yardage. The problem is if the offense can do their part and start consistently complementing them. The ultimate goal of any franchise is to win the Super Bowl, so the Titans need to make a decision on whether this team can eventually be good enough to do so. A good amount of their main contributors are getting pretty old, while some others will hit free agency soon. The Titans need to look themselves in the mirror soon and make a choice to either keep forging ahead with this roster or blow it up and start rebuilding or retooling. It’s only going to get harder for the Titans to continue competing, with the Texans and Colts on the rise, and the AFC as a whole getting better. I personally think sticking with this team will only lock the Titans into mediocrity, and that they should start the rebuilding process as soon as possible.