Titans fire general manager Jon Robinson after six years of being good, not great


AJ Brown poured it on the Titans.

There was his 40-yard touchdown reception, immediately after reversing a 40-yard touchdown. And there was his 29-yard touchdown catch; an incredible end zone hold against stifling coverage, where he managed to put his hands on the cornerback’s shoulder at the last minute to make the catch. For the Eagles’ star receiver, it was the highlight of a day in which he had eight receptions for 119 yards and two touchdowns.

Brown had wanted to be a Titan for life. But last spring, after extension talks went sour, he was traded to the Eagles, who gave him the kind of contract he wanted as No. 1 receiver: four years for $100 million, including $57 million guaranteed. And he gave Tennessee a taste — no, a bite — of what he had given up.

It’s almost fitting that this is Jon Robinson’s last game as Titans general manager.

The latter part of Robinson’s six-plus years at the helm of Tennessee’s personnel moves was defined by big misses — like not paying Brown — leading to his shock end to the season on Tuesday.

“I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished in my eight seasons of ownership, but I think there’s still a lot more to do and higher aspirations to achieve,” Titans owner Amy Adams Strunk said in a statement. a statement.

Robinson had received a multi-year extension just 10 months ago (with coach Mike Vrabel), a sign of Strunk’s confidence in him. Alongside Vrabel, Robinson guided the Titans to six straight winning seasons, including back-to-back AFC South titles and a No. 1 seed in the AFC playoffs last season. He was on course for a seventh consecutive season and a third straight division title. Robinson was instrumental in changing the culture of a franchise that was once a joke. He drafted franchise cornerstones like Derrick Henry, Kevin Byard and Jeffery Simmons.

But some of his recent personnel moves – a handful of which have been significant – have held the team back. Tennessee maintained a strong team but fell short of greatness, bolstered by its blowout loss on Sunday to the Eagles, one of the Super Bowl favorites.
Robinson had a disastrous draft in 2020. The Titans’ first-round pick that year, offensive tackle Isaiah Wilson, was a huge distraction on and off the field. He only played four snaps before being traded after his rookie season, cementing his status as the biggest bust in NFL history. Wilson is not currently on a team.

Of the six players drafted that year, only three are still on Tennessee’s roster, including only one starter: cornerback Kristian Fulton.
Cornerback Caleb Farley, the Titans’ first pick in 2021, also fell short. Robinson gambled on his upside despite a history of injuries that scared other teams. But Farley has only played 12 games, spent two stints on injured reserve and there is no evidence he can start.

Dillon Radunz, a 2021 second-round selection expected to be the starting right tackle, has been a substitute playing mostly guard.
There was the big swing of the 2021 offseason in the acquisition of seven-time Pro Bowler Julio Jones, too, with the idea that the Falcons legend would help lift the Titans into Super Bowl contention. But he only played 10 games due to a lingering hamstring injury – which also plagued the end of his tenure in Atlanta – and was released in March.

Outside linebacker Bud Dupree has played well in spurts, but it would be an overstatement to say he lived up to the expectations of his five-year, $82.5 million free agent contract signed in March 2021, with seven bags in 19 appearances. Veteran receiver Robert Woods, acquired in the spring, was disappointed in a season he needed to play as a No. 1 receiver.

What we see from the Titans, especially on offense, is a team that lacks the talent to compete with the best in the NFL. We see a struggling offensive line that can’t adequately block for Henry or protect the pass for quarterback Ryan Tannehill. We see one of the worst wide receiver rooms in the NFL. We see inconsistent cornerback play. It’s largely Robinson’s fault.

Brown’s dominance on Sunday – the homegrown Titans star was traded and stomped on the team that shaped him – was a symbolic punctuation of Robinson’s failures.

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Ben Arthur is the AFC South reporter for FOX Sports. He previously worked for The Tennessean/USA TODAY Network, where he wrote Titans beats for a year and a half. He covered the Seattle Seahawks for SeattlePI.com for three seasons (2018-20) before moving to Tennessee. You can follow Ben on Twitter at @benyarthur.


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