Titans' roller-coaster ride stops short of playoffs in Mike Vrabel's first year

The Tennessee Titans ended the season with a 33-17 loss to the Indianapolis Colts and finished 9-7. Here's a recap of the season and what's next:

Season grade: Above average. The Titans overcame early struggles on offense and injuries to make a late push for the playoffs. Last year's team went to the second round, but Tennessee made strides on defense under first-year coach Mike Vrabel and defensive coordinator Dean Pees.

Season in review: The 2018 season was a roller-coaster ride for the Titans. Losing tight end Delanie Walker in the season opener and quarterback Marcus Mariota's elbow injury made it seem like it was going to be a long season. However, a three-game win streak -- against the Texans, Jaguars and Eagles -- had many analysts wondering if Tennessee could be a contender. The three-game losing streak that followed featured an assortment of offensive struggles. The Titans scored 31 points during the skid and couldn't run the ball effectively, which hurt the passing game. Offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur's group got back on track in the second half of the season, though. The biggest improvement came from running back Derrick Henry, who exploded for a combined 408 yards in Weeks 14 and 15, including a franchise-record 238 rushing yards against the Jaguars. Henry struggled earlier in the season, but he started to run the ball with more physicality, and the results showed, opening up the rest of the offense.

He said it: "Man, it's been crazy as hell. Just like last year, wild. We are in control of our destiny, but you don't want to be in control of your destiny like this." -- Cornerback Adoree Jackson

Offseason questions

Can the Titans find a wide receiver to start opposite Corey Davis?

The likely release of DeSean Jackson by the Buccaneers is a situation the Titans should monitor closely. If Tampa lets Jackson go, he'd be an excellent addition. The NFL draft has options, as well, especially if Oklahoma's Marquise Brown is available. Kelvin Harmon from NC State and A.J. Brown from Ole Miss are other names to watch. Then there are the guys on Tennessee's roster. Before injuring his ankle, Tajae Sharpe emerged as a trustworthy slot receiver who can move the chains, and Taywan Taylor came on late and made some huge plays in wins against the Jets and Redskins.

Will the Titans re-sign Mariota to a long-term extension? Mariota is the present and future for the Titans. There aren't many better options in free agency or the draft. When healthy, Mariota is a dynamic, dual-threat quarterback. He changes the way opposing defenses have to plan, and he has a knack for rising to the occasion when it matters the most. His fourth-quarter comebacks have become a regular occurrence. The key is going to be how much the commitment costs. If it comes with a $100 million price tag, general manager Jon Robinson might want to pass. Given Mariota's extensive injury history, it's unlikely he'll be able to command a huge contract.

Who should the Titans bring aboard to generate pass rush? The Titans need to take a long look at the outside linebackers in this year's draft class. If Florida's Jachai Polite or Mississippi State's Montez Sweat are available in the first round, the Titans need to pounce. It might not be a popular opinion, but Tennessee should also re-sign veteran outside linebacker Derrick Morgan. He would be the veteran of a group that would include second-year players Harold Landry and Sharif Finch, as well as Kamalei Correa.