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Titans start offseason with Mularkey saying to forget past


    Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota answers questions during a news conference Monday, April 18, 2016, in Nashville, Tenn. The Titans started their offseason program Monday with much more optimism despite a 3-13 season thanks to a new general manager who has pulled off two impressive trades trying to rebuild the roster.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. >> Coach Mike Mularkey wants the Tennessee Titans to forget their painful past and focus only about what happens next.

That shouldn’t be too hard, because most everything about the Titans recently has been forgettable.

The Titans are just 5-27 over the past two seasons with only one winning record since the Titans’ last playoff berth way back in 2008. Mularkey delivered his message Monday as the Titans started their offseason program with the interim removed from his own job title and a new general manager in Jon Robinson.

“We’re moving forward,” Mularkey said.

The coach ticked off a laundry list of changes since he was hired in January: his new assistant coaches, nine new players signed through free agency, the trade for the NFL’s 2014 rushing leader DeMarco Murray and last week’s swap of the No. 1 overall selection in this year’s draft.

“If you’re not thinking things are going to be different around here, then you’re going to be a little bit naive when you walk in the door,” the coach said. “I think when they walk in for training camp, they’re going to see even a different facility. I can promise you that the changes that have gone on haven’t gone on to this extent in the past when a coaching change has gone on.”

The changes even include the Titans’ headquarters. The Titans first moved into this facility in August 1999 with very little done to the building since then. The biggest project is a locker room renovation to expand the room and remove the wall of lockers that had divided players previously. The project isn’t expected to be completed until just before training camp starts in late July.

“It’s going to be one of the nicer locker rooms in the NFL when it’s said and done,” Mularkey said.

Only one player wasn’t at Monday’s first session with safety Josh Aubrey’s wife due to deliver a baby Wednesday. Mularkey’s message is just what the Titans want to hear as they start off a new year. Veteran cornerback Jason McCourty is on his fourth head coach since being drafted in 2010. Asked about what’s different now, McCourty said to ask him again in January hoping he can say the result is a lot more wins.

“This is probably the most change we’ve had go on since I’ve been here, so you’re just excited,” McCourty said. “You can’t guarantee that it’s going to make this different or that different. But our goals are to win games, and that’s what we’re in it for.”

The Titans, who dropped down to the No. 15 pick overall in the draft, already have their quarterback in Marcus Mariota. Their other big offseason move was trading with Philadelphia for Murray, a trade that certainly got the attention of the Titans.

“He is a big-name guy, and a lot of times it’s hard for us to get those type of people around here,” Pro Bowl defensive lineman Jurrell Casey said.

There’s also a new playbook, though Mularkey said the playbook wasn’t a total overhaul but simplified for an offense featuring a young quarterback. Mularkey said Marcus Mariota, the No. 2 pick overall a year ago, will have a head start compared to a year ago.

Mariota spent much of the offseason working out in Oregon, though he spent some time at home in Hawaii. He also worked three weeks with a trainer in California and worked with up to 10 of his Tennessee teammate recently on their own to start on timing and chemistry. Going 3-13 bothered Mariota a lot considering he went 36-5 in college at Oregon.

“I think we’re headed in the right direction,” Mariota said.

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