NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- It was a 800 miles away in Philadelphia on Sunday night that some Tennessee Titans fans watched an exciting, creative offense filled with run-pass options, moving pockets and a balanced use of personnel. There had to be a mix of inspiration and a little bit of jealousy at that moment.
The Eagles are showing that the spread offense isn't dead. The Titans offense might soon be headed down a similar path.
The Titans went with leadership, culture and intelligence in hiring Mike Vrabel as head coach, but the biggest issue with the 2017 Titans was a struggling and inflexible offense. There are legit questions about Vrabel's inexperience, but the biggest remaining question mark is what does this move mean for Marcus Mariota and the Titans offense?
Vrabel has plans to hand the keys over to Ohio State co-offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Ryan Day, who is considering taking the Titans offensive coordinator job. It would be up to Day to develop and run the offense to maximize Mariota and the Titans' young core of offensive talent.
The potential Day hire, along with rest of his offensive staff, might define whether Vrabel is ultimately successful in his first opportunity as a head coach.
Tennessee didn't need to hire an offensive-minded head coach just because that was its biggest problem. The new age head coach role is more centered on being a CEO and leader for your players and staff. Vrabel's two big opening assignments are choosing the right offensive staff and selling the Titans players on his program.
Day, a Chip Kelly protege, has limited NFL experience (two years as quarterbacks coach under Kelly in Philadelphia and San Francisco) but has had success on the college level. He would likely insert many of the spread schemes that made Mariota successful at Oregon. That's something many have been clamoring for in the media and Titans fan base.
New energy and scheme would seem to be a refreshing boost for a Titans offense that finished 23rd in total and passing offense in 2017. General manager Jon Robinson repeated the word "maximize" six times for a reason in his post-Mike Mularkey firing news conference.
The key here might not be the spread scheme as much as flexibility. What do you do when your scheme isn't working? That's an issue that hurt Mularkey and his staff during his tenure in Tennessee.
It should also include a balance between maximizing Mariota, while still protecting him. Simply running Mariota more doesn't seem like a recipe for long-term success or health.
Vrabel will soon find out, if he hasn't already, that the Titans revolve around Mariota. So the person who develops and schemes for Mariota must be a home-run hire. As we saw with the Mularkey firing, it's difficult for a head coach to overcome failures in that area.