Titans GM Jon Robinson sends upstart roster against monster Patriots he helped create

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Titans coach Mike Mularkey and quarterback Marcus Mariota aren't in awe of New England's many Super Bowl titles as they prepare to head to the next round of the NFL playoffs at Foxborough. Autumn Allison / USA TODAY NETWORK-Tennessee

Titans general manager Jon Robinson hugs safety Kevin Byard (31) after the team‘s playoff-clinching win over the Jaguars at Nissan Stadium Sunday, Dec. 31, 2017 in Nashville, Tenn.(Photo: George Walker IV / Tennessean)

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scouted in college, played a major role in the cornerback being drafted by the Patriots, and when Ryan hit free agency last offseason, he pursued the player harder than any general manager in the NFL.

Robinson’s pitch dispensed with the formalities.

“He just said, ‘Do you like winning?’” Ryan recalled.

“And I said, ‘Yes.’

“So come on, let’s win.”

Rexrode:

“And that’s what he did,” Ryan said. “Jon’s always had a vision for me coming out of the draft, and always believed in me as much as I believed in myself. And that’s all you need is someone to believe in you and give you an opportunity.”

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Titans general manager Jon Robinson walks the field before the game at Nissan Stadium Sunday, Nov. 12, 2017 in Nashville, Tenn.   George Walker IV / Tennessean Titans general manager Jon Robinson and owner Amy Adams Strunk watch the team before the start of the game against the Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium Sunday, Oct. 8, 2017 in Miami Gardens, Fla.  George Walker IV / Tennessean Tennessee Titans general manager Jon Robinson congratulates head coach Mike Mularkey after their 37 to 16 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars at EverBank Field Sunday, Sept. 17, 2017 in Jacksonville , Fla.  George Walker IV / The TennesseBuy Photo Tennessee Titans General Manager Jon Robinson watches the team before the game against the Jaguars at EverBank Field Sunday, Sept. 17, 2017 in Jacksonville , Fl.  George Walker IV / The TennesseanBuy Photo Titans general manager Jon Robinson holds up tennis racquets during passing drills at training camp practice at Saint Thomas Sports Park Thursday, Aug. 10, 2017 in Nashville , Tenn.  George Walker IV / The TennesseanBuy Photo Titans coach Mike Mularkey talks with general manager Jon Robinson during training camp practice Aug. 10, 2017, at Saint Thomas Sports Park.  George Walker IV / The TennesseanBuy Photo Titans head coach Mike Mularkey and general manager Jon Robinson shakes hands with fans before a training camp practice at Centennial High School Friday, Aug. 4, 2017 in Franklin, Tenn.  George Walker IV / The TennesseanBuy Photo Titans general manager Jon Robinson signs an autograph for Julie Ferrell on her giant football after training camp practice at Saint Thomas Sports Park Tuesday, Aug. 1, 2017 in Nashville, Tenn.  George Walker IV / The TennesseanBuy Photo Titans general manager Jon Robinson watches his players during training camp practice at Saint Thomas Sports Park Tuesday, Aug. 1, 2017 in Nashville, Tenn.  George Walker IV / The Tennessean Titans general manager Jon Robinson gives the thumbs up as he watches practice during training camp at Saint Thomas Sports Park Monday, July 31, 2017 in Nashville, Tenn.  George Walker IV / The Tennessea Titans general manager Jon Robinson and head coach Mike Mularkey visit with former Titan Tim Shaw as they walk off the field following a mini-camp practice at St. Thomas Sports Park Thursday, June 15, 2017, in Nashville, Tenn.  George Walker IV / TennesseanBuy Photo Titans general manager Jon Robinson watches his new players during rookie mini camp at St. Thomas Sports Park Friday, May 12, 2017, in Nashville, Tenn.   George Walker IV / The TennesseanBuy Photo Titans general manager Jon Robinson watches his new players at rookie mini camp at St. Thomas Sports Park Friday, May 12, 2017, in Nashville, Tenn.   George Walker IV / The TennesseanBuy Photo Titans general manager Jon Robinson autographed a dollar out of his own pocket for a crying boy Monday in the parking of the Fort Campbell post exchange after a fire alarm ended the stop on the Titans Caravan promotional tour on May 1, 2017.  Jason Wolf / The Tennessean Titans general manager Jon Robinson talks about the team‘s plans in the 2017 NFL Draft at St. Thomas Sports Park Tuesday, April 25, 2017, in Nashville, Tenn.  George Walker IV / The TennesseaBuy Photo Titans general manager Jon Robinson, right, signed autographs for fans before the “Tailgate and Tuxedos” event for season ticket holders Feb. 22, 2017, at the Music City Center.  Jason Wolf / The TennesseanBuy Photo Titans General Manager Jon Robinson hugs Titans defensive end Jurrell Casey (99) after the Titans 36-22 win over the Jags at Nissan Stadium Thursday, Oct. 27, 2016, in Nashville, Tenn.  George Walker IV / The TennesseanBuy Photo Titans General Manager Jon Robinson talks with Titans running back DeMarco Murray (29) before the start of the game against the Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium Sunday, Nov. 20, 2016, in Indianapolis, Ind.  George Walker IV, George Walker IV / The TennesseanBuy Photo Titans General Manager Jon Robinson watches warmups before the start of the game against the Browns at Nissan Stadium Sunday, Oct. 16, 2016, in Nashville, Tenn.  George Walker IV / The TennesseanBuy Photo Titans General Manager Jon Robinson watches the team in warmups before its game against the Raiders at Nissan Stadium Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016, in Nashville, Tenn.  George Walker IV / The TennesseanBuy Photo Titans general manager Jon Robinson watches warmups before the home opener against the Vikings at Nissan Stadium Sunday Sept. 11, 2016, in Nashville, Tenn.  George Walker IV / The TennesseanBuy Photo Titans coach Mike Mularkey, left, and general manager Jon Robinson on Aug. 23, 2016.  George Walker IV / The TennesseanBuy Photo Titans general manager Jon Robinson watches his players during practice at St. Thomas Sports Park Thursday Aug. 11, 2016, in Nashville, Tenn.  George Walker IV / The TennesseanBuy Photo Titans general manager Jon Robinson watches practice during minicamp at St. Thomas Sports Park Tuesday, June 14, 2016, in Nashville, Tenn.  George Walker IV / The TennesseanBuy Photo Titans first-round draft pick Jack Conklin from Michigan State poses for pictures with head coach Mike Mularkey, team owner Amy Adams Strunk and general manager Jon Robinson at St. Thomas Sports Park on April 29, 2016.  George Walker IV / The TennesseanBuy Photo Titans GM Jon Robinson, left, and coach Mike Mularkey pose for a portrait at Saint Thomas Sports Park on Jan. 18, 2016.  George Walker IV / The TennesseanBuy Photo Titans president Steve Underwood, left, coach Mike Mularkey, center, and general manager Jon Robinson during a news conference at Saint Thomas Sports Park on Jan. 18, 2016.  George Walker IV / The TennesseanBuy Photo Titans general manager Jon Robinson answers questions from the media during a news conference at Saint Thomas Sports Park on Jan. 18, 2016.  George Walker IV / The TennesseanBuy Photo Titans GM Jon Robinson poses for a portrait Monday at Saint Thomas Sports Park on Jan. 18, 2016.  George Walker IV / The Tennessean

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Robinson’s marquee free agent acquisition was far from the splashiest signing in the league, but other players in the locker room tend to notice and follow the example set by the guys who land the big bucks. The addition of Ryan — a versatile, physical, unselfish player with two Super Bowl rings, who instantly became the team’s top corner — further cemented the winning culture Robinson has worked to establish since being named the Titans’ GM in 2016.

On Saturday, the Titans, in the postseason for the first time in nearly a decade, will clash with the monster Robinson helped to create when they face the Patriots in primetime in an AFC divisional playoff game at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass.

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Robinson toiled 12 seasons with Patriots, from 2002 to ’13, climbing the ranks from area scout to ’s inner circle. Robinson has a different style — more Brooks Brothers than hooded sweatshirt — but is of similar substance. The Tennessee native rose to the rank of director of college scouting before spending two seasons with the Buccaneers and then returning to his home state.

“Jon does a good job,” Belichick said. “He did a great job for me. Had a big impact in helping us build our program. I like Jon. I think he does a great job. I hope he doesn’t do well this week, but I’m always pulling for Jon otherwise.”

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The Tennessee Titans will be facing Tom Brady and the New England Patriots on Saturday. Quarterback Marcus Mariota has been targeted as one of the future stars of the NFL. Autumn Allison|USA TODAY NETWORK-Tennessee

What ex-Titans GM said about Robinson

Former Titans general manager Floyd Reese, who helped build the team that reached the Super Bowl, worked alongside Robinson in the Patriots’ front office from 2009-12 when New England drafted Ryan and a host of impact players, including Rob Gronkowski, Dont’a Hightower, Devin McCourty, Patrick Chung, Shane Vereen and Julian Edelman.

“JRob came in there as just a baby, just a pup, and they moved him around,” said Reese, now a radio talk show host on 102.5-FM. “You’re going to do a little pro, and then you’re going to do a little college, and then you’re going to pay attention to the coaching, so that by the time you get to a point where you can step into a leadership role, you know that organization as well as anybody does. And I think when all those guys get into that role, they have been educated in everything.

Rexrode:

“When they sit down and they talk about a quarterback — every person in the room knows what a New England Patriot quarterback looks like: how smart he has to be, what kind of an athlete he has to be, what kind of a person he has to be, how much he’s going to have to absorb — and I think that runs through the entire organization, from the guys that are breaking down film making minimum salary in a back room for 20 hours a day to (owner) Robert Kraft. They all know. And it’s just really, really hard, it’s going to be hard for anybody else to get that kind of continuity.

“The great part for a guy like JRob, I think, is JRob has been other places. So he’s been at Tampa on his own, so he has a little bit of a taste of what’s going on there. If he can take the best out of all these places and the best of all these people and integrate it into the Titans, that can lead to the success that we can see now.”

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How Robinson, Mularkey changed culture

The Titans’ overhaul has been impressive under Robinson and coach — from a 5-27 record in the two seasons prior to their hire to back-to-back winning records, the franchise’s first playoff appearance in nine years and first postseason victory in 14 years.

The Titans, meanwhile, have developed an identity and a winning culture. They have an 8-1 record over the last two seasons in games decided by three points or fewer, tied with the Steelers for the best winning percentage in close games in the NFL.

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“I think the general manager has done a great job adding some personnel, and I think Mike’s done a tremendous job of keeping everybody pointed in the right direction,” said Hall of Fame former defensive back and Titans defensive coordinator , who established himself as a defensive wizard with the Steelers. “It takes a little time, and it’s good to be a part of it. I think you see it in our players, the way they practice. It’s a good feeling. It’ll be even better if we win a couple more games.”

With a franchise quarterback in in place, Robinson orchestrated the “king’s ransom” trade with the Rams, dealing the No. 1 overall draft pick for a slew of selections.

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Titans running back Derrick Henry (22) celebrates with Titans fans after defeating the Chiefs 22-21 at Arrowhead Stadium Saturday, Jan. 6, 2018 in Kansas City , Mo.  Andrew Nelles / Tennessean Titans running back Derrick Henry (22) celebrates his touchdown during the second half at Arrowhead Stadium Saturday, Jan. 6, 2018 in Kansas City , Mo.  George Walker IV / Tennessean Titans running back Derrick Henry (22) scores during the second half at Arrowhead Stadium Saturday, Jan. 6, 2018 in Kansas City , Mo.   Andrew Nelles / Tennessean Titans running back Derrick Henry (22) scores on a 66-yard run as wide receiver Rishard Matthews (18) celebrates behind him during the first half at Nissan Stadium Sunday, Dec. 31, 2017 in Nashville, Tenn.  George Walker IV / Tennessean Titans running back Derrick Henry (22) dives for a touchdown during the first half at University of Phoenix Stadium Sunday, Dec. 10, 2017 in Glendale, Ariz.   George Walker IV / Tennessean Titans running back Derrick Henry (22) rushes through the Cardinals defense during the first half at University of Phoenix Stadium Sunday, Dec. 10, 2017 in Glendale, Ariz.  George Walker IV / Tennessean Titans running back Derrick Henry (22) leaps over Colts cornerback Kenny Moore II (42) in the second half at Lucas Oil Stadium Sunday, Nov. 26, 2017 in Indianapolis, Ind.  George Walker IV / tennessean Titans running back Derrick Henry (22) stiff arms Steelers safety Sean Davis (28) during the second quarter at Heinz Field Thursday, Nov. 16, 2017 in Pittsburgh, Pa.  George Walker IV / tennessean, George Walker IV / Tennessean Titans running back Derrick Henry (22) gains yards in the first half at Nissan Stadium Sunday, Nov. 12, 2017 in Nashville, Tenn.   George Walker IV / Tennessean Titans running back Derrick Henry (22) goes in for a touchdown late in the second quarter at Nissan Stadium Sunday, Nov. 5, 2017 in Nashville, Tenn.  George Walker IV / Tennessean Titans center Ben Jones (60) hoists running back Derrick Henry (22) after Henry‘s touchdown during the first half at Nissan Stadium Sunday, Nov. 5, 2017 in Nashville, Tenn.  George Walker IV / Tennessean Titans running back Derrick Henry (22) stopped for a loss of five yards by Browns safety Derrick Kindred (26) during the third quarter at FirstEnergy Stadium Sunday, Oct. 22, 2017 in Cleveland, Ohio.  George Walker IV / Tennessean Titans linebacker Wesley Woodyard (59) celebrates with running back Derrick Henry (22) after Henry‘s touchdown late in the second half at Nissan Stadium Monday, Oct. 16, 2017 in Nashville, Tenn.  George Walker IV / tennessean Titans running back Derrick Henry (22) is stopped by Texans defensive end Jadeveon Clowney (90) during the fourth quarter at NRG Stadium Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017 in Houston, Texas.  George Walker IV / tennesseanBuy Photo Titans running back Derrick Henry (22) runs for some of his 54 yards against the Seahawks on Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017, at Nissan Stadium.  George Walker IV / The TennesseanBuy Photo Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry (22) rushes 17 yards up the field for a touchdown in the third quarter at EverBank Field Sunday, Sept. 17, 2017 in Jacksonville, Fla.  George Walker IV / The TennesseanBuy Photo Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry (22) dives in for a 17-yard touchdown run in the third quarter against the Jaguars at EverBank Field Sunday, Sept. 17, 2017 in Jacksonville, Fla.  George Walker IV / The Tennessean Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry (22) runs against Oakland Raiders strong safety T.J. Carrie (38) in the first half at Nissan Stadium Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017 in Nashville, Tenn.  Andrew Nelles / TennesseanBuy Photo Titans running back Derrick Henry (22) scores a touchdown in the second half on Sunday, Jan. 1, 2017, at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tenn.  Andrew Nelles / The TennesseanBuy Photo Titans running back Derrick Henry (22) tries to evade Texans safety Denzel Rice (22) in the second half at Nissan Stadium on Sunday Jan. 1, 2017, in Nashville, Tenn.  Andrew Nelles / The Tennessean Titans running back Derrick Henry (22) runs in for a touchdown during the second half against Kansas City on Dec. 18, 2016.  Denny Medley / USA TODAY Sports Titans running back Derrick Henry (22) scores a touchdown past Chiefs linebacker Ramik Wilson (53) during the first half on Dec. 18, 2016.  Charlie Riedel / APBuy Photo Titans running back Derrick Henry (22) gets stopped by Broncos free safety Darian Stewart (26) in the second quarter at Nissan Stadium Sunday ,Dec. 11, 2016, in Nashville, Tenn.  George Walker IV / The TennesseanBuy Photo Titans running back Derrick Henry (22) breaks a tackle by Broncos outside linebacker Von Miller (58) in the first quarter at Nissan Stadium Sunday, Dec. 11, 2016, in Nashville, Tenn.  George Walker IV / The Tennessean Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry (22) runs for a touchdown during the first half of an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears, Sunday, Nov. 27, 2016, in Chicago.  Charles Rex Arbogast, AP Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry (22) celebrates a touchdown with center Ben Jones (60) during the first half of an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears, Sunday, Nov. 27, 2016, in Chicago.  Nam Y. Huh, APBuy Photo Titans running back Derrick Henry (22) is brought down in the first half at Nissan Stadium Sunday, Nov. 13, 2016, in Nashville, Tenn.  Andrew Nelles, Andrew Nelles / The TennesseanBuy Photo Titans running back Derrick Henry (22) stiffarms Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey (20) in their game Oct. 27, 2016, at Nissan Stadium.  George Walker IV / File / The TennesseanBuy Photo Titans running back Derrick Henry (22) tumbles after being stopped by Jaguars strong safety Johnathan Cyprien (37) at Nissan Stadium Thursday, Oct. 27, 2016, in Nashville, Tenn.  Andrew Nelles / The TennesseanBuy Photo Titans running back Derrick Henry (22) leaves Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey (20) behind as he scores the team‘s second touchdown on Oct. 27, 2016.  George Walker IV / The TennesseanBuy Photo Titans running back Derrick Henry (22) moves the ball in the second half defended by Browns cornerback Tramon Williams (22) at Nissan Stadium Sunday, Oct. 16, 2016, in Nashville, Tenn.  George Walker IV / The TennesseanBuy Photo Titans running back Derrick Henry (22) gets tackled by Browns cornerback Briean Boddy-Calhoun (20) and cornerback Tramon Williams (22) in the second quarter at Nissan Stadium Sunday, Oct. 16, 2016, in Nashville, Tenn.  Andrew Nelles / The Tennessean Titans running back Derrick Henry warms up before the game against the Dolphins.  Jasen Vinlove / USA TODAY Sports Dolphins strong safety Isa Abdul-Quddus (24) and free safety Reshad Jones (20) tackle Titans running back Derrick Henry (22) in the first half Sunday.  Joel Auerbach / AP Titans running back Derrick Henry (22) runs the ball during the first half Sunday.  Jasen Vinlove / USA TODAY SportsBuy Photo Titans running back Derrick Henry (22) signs some autographs before the game against the Raiders at Nissan Stadium Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016, in Nashville, Tenn.  George Walker IV / The TennesseanBuy Photo Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry (22) takes a hit from Oakland Raiders free safety Reggie Nelson (27) during the second half of an NFL football game at Nissan Stadium, Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016, in Nashville, Tenn.  Andrew Nelles / The Tennessean Titans running back Derrick Henry (22) is tackled by Lions defensive end Wallace Gilberry during the first half Sunday.  Duane Burleson / AP Titans running back Derrick Henry (22) breaks through the Lions defense during the first half Sunday.  Jose Juarez / APBuy Photo Titans running back Derrick Henry (22) is tackled in the second half Sunday.  Andrew Nelles / The TennesseanBuy Photo Titans running back Derrick Henry (22) at Nissan Stadium Sunday Sept. 11, 2016, in Nashville, Tenn.  Andrew Nelles, Andrew Nelles / The TennesseanBuy Photo Titans running back Antonio Andrews (26), running back Derrick Henry (22) and fullback Jalston Fowler (45) watch warmups at Nissan Stadium before the home opener against the Vikings Sunday Sept. 11, 2016, in Nashville, Tenn.  George Walker IV / The Tennessean Titans running back Derrick Henry (22) warms up before the home opener against the Vikings at Nissan Stadium Sunday Sept. 11, 2016, in Nashville, Tenn.  George Walker IV / The Tennessea Titans running back Derrick Henry (22) warms up before the home opener against the Vikings at Nissan Stadium Sunday Sept. 11, 2016, in Nashville, Tenn.  George Walker IV, George Walker IV / The Tennessea Titans running back Derrick Henry runs with the ball past Raiders linebackers Bruce Irvin (51) and Cory James, bottom, during the first half Saturday.  Tony Avelar / AP Titans running back Derrick Henry runs with the ball for a touchdown past Raiders strong safety Nate Allen (20) during the first half Saturday.  Tony Avelar / APBuy Photo Titans running back Derrick Henry (2) walks off the field after the Titans lost, 26-16, to the Panthers in a preseason game at Nissan Stadium Saturday ,Aug. 20, 2016, in Nashville, Tenn.  George Walker IV / The TennesseanBuy Photo Titans running back Derrick Henry (2) gains yards in the third quarter of a preseason game against the Panthers at Nissan Stadium Saturday ,Aug. 20, 2016, in Nashville, Tenn.  George Walker IV / The Tennessean Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry (2) runs against the Carolina Panthers during the second half of an NFL preseason football game, Saturday at Nissan Stadium.  Mark Zaleski / APBuy Photo Titans running back Derrick Henry (2) stands during the national anthem before the start of the preseason game against the Chargers at Nissan Stadium Saturday.  George Walker IV / The TennesseanBuy Photo Titans running back Derrick Henry (2) gains big yards in the preseason opener Saturday.  George Walker IV / The TennesseanBuy Photo Titans running back Derrick Henry (2) moves the ball on his way to scoring the Titans‘ second touchdown of the first half in the team‘s preseason game against the Chargers at Nissan Stadium Saturday.  George Walker IV / The TennesseanBuy Photo Chargers cornerback Craig Mager (29) dives to try to stop Titans running back Derrick Henry (2) in the first half at Nissan Stadium Saturday.  George Walker IV / The TennesseanBuy Photo Titans running back Derrick Henry (2) gets congratulated by Titans linebacker Justin Staples (57) after scoring his first TD as a Titan in the preseason game against the Chargers at Nissan Stadium Saturday.  George Walker IV / The TennesseanBuy Photo Titans running back Derrick Henry (2) signs autographs for fans after practice at St. Thomas Sports Park Tuesday Aug. 9, 2016, in Nashville, Tenn.  George Walker IV / The TennesseanBuy Photo Titans running back Derrick Henry (2) signs autographs for fans after their team scrimmage at Nissan Stadium Monday Aug. 8, 2016, in Nashville, Tenn.  George Walker IV / The TennesseanBuy Photo Titans rookie running back Derrick Henry heads out to the start of the team‘s Monday night scrimmage at Nissan Stadium in Nashville.  George Walker IV / The TennesseanBuy Photo Titans running back Derrick Henry signs autographs for fans after their team scrimmage at Nissan Stadium was postponed due to inclement weather Saturday, Aug. 6, 2016, in Nashville, Tenn.  George Walker IV / The TennesseanBuy Photo Titans running back Derrick Henry (2) listnes to head coach Mike Mularkey during practice at St. Thomas Sports Park Tuesday Aug. 2, 2016, in Nashville, Tenn.  George Walker IV / The TennesseanBuy Photo Titans running back Derrick Henry (2) flies through the air with a tackling ring during practice at St. Thomas Sports Park Tuesday Aug. 2, 2016, in Nashville, Tenn.  George Walker IV / The TennesseanBuy Photo Titans running back Derrick Henry (2) runs through the defense during practice at St. Thomas Sports Park Tuesday Aug. 2, 2016, in Nashville, Tenn.  George Walker IV / The Tennessean Titans running back Derrick Henry takes a break during practice Wednesday.  Mark Humphrey, AP Titans running back Derrick Henry stretches during practice Wednesday.  Mark Humphrey, APBuy Photo Titans quarterback Matt Cassel, right, hands the ball off to running back Derrick Henry during practice June 9.  Mark Zaleski / For The TennesseanBuy Photo Titans running back Derrick Henry (2) cools off during practice at Saint Thomas Sports Park on May 24, 2016.  George Walker IV / The TennesseanBuy Photo Titans running back Derrick Henry makes a catch during practice at Saint Thomas Sports Park on May 13, 2016.  George Walker IV / The TennesseanBuy Photo Titans running back Derick Henry races up the field during practice at Saint Thomas Sports Park on May 13, 2016.  George Walker IV / The TennesseanBuy Photo Titans running back Derrick Henry stretches before practice at Saint Thomas Sports Park on May 13, 2016.  George Walker IV / The Tennessean

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Analyzing Robinson‘s moves

His initial draft class has yielded two AP first-team All-Pros in right tackle Jack Conklin and safety who tied for the league lead with eight interceptions this season, and a running back in , who in his second career game as the featured back set a single-game franchise playoff record with 191 yards from scrimmage.

The jury is still out on the most recent draft class, particularly with wide receiver Corey Davis, the fifth overall pick, missing a chunk of training camp and the season with a hamstring injury. But cornerback Adoree’ Jackson, drafted 18th overall, played the second-most snaps in the league this season.

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Robinson’s overhaul has included signing or trading for veterans such as Ryan, , Rishard Matthews, Ben Jones and Johnathan Cyprien, and locking up tight end Delanie Walker and defensive lineman Jurrell Casey with extensions.

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Titans general manager Jon Robinson watches his players during training camp practice at Saint Thomas Sports Park Tuesday, Aug. 1, 2017 in Nashville, Tenn. (Photo: George Walker IV / The Tennessean)

Plenty of cap space remains to back a Brink’s truck up to Pro Bowl left tackle Taylor Lewan this upcoming offseason and lock up Mariota with a long-term deal a year from now, ensuring the Titans have laid the groundwork for success for years to come.

Robinson, who began his post-playing career as an assistant coach at Southeast Missouri State and Nicholls State, maintains a hands-on approach throughout the season.

“He’s helped immensely,” Mularkey said. “He does every week. He watches a lot of tape, too. I appreciate his input. Our coaching staff does. He’s been very good for us.

“We all have one goal in this league. I know this team does. And in order to get to that goal, these are the games you’ve got to get to first, and then you have to win them.”

Why Robinson isn‘t doing interviews

Robinson declined an interview for this story through a team spokesperson because he “doesn’t want this week to be about him.”

He also declined to speak after last week’s comeback victory against Kansas City, when Mularkey’s job security was among the biggest national storylines prior to kickoff. A late-season three-game skid cost the Titans the division title and a home playoff game, but a victory against the Jaguars in the regular-season finale sparked a playoff run.

Stability, as well as talent, has played a major factor in how Patriots have sustained success.

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Belichick is in his 18th season as coach of the Patriots. Tom Brady, 40, is the greatest of all time. The pair have led the Patriots to seven Super Bowls, winning five.

Robinson has two Super Bowl rings from his time with the Patriots. He doesn’t wear them often, preferring to focus on winning a ring with the Titans.

“That’s what we strive to do,” Robinson said last offseason. “That’s why we ultimately show up to work every day, is to hopefully one day stand on top of the podium and hoist that trophy and say, ‘It’s coming home to Nashville.’”

Reach Jason Wolf at jwolf and follow him on Twitter at  and on Instagram and Snapchat at TitansBeat.

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Titans general manager Jon Robinson signs an autograph for Julie Ferrell on her giant football after training camp practice at Saint Thomas Sports Park Tuesday, Aug. 1, 2017 in Nashville, Tenn. (Photo: George Walker IV / The Tennessean)

 

DIVISIONAL PLAYOFFS: TITANS (10-7) AT PATRIOTS (13-3)

When: 7:15 p.m. CT, Saturday

TV/radio: CBS / 104.5-FM

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