On Titans' Fans, 'In JRob We Trust' and 'Let Ran Cook'

Let Ran CookNASHVILLE, Tenn. – When Jon Robinson was at the peak of his powers, many who followed the team believed him invincible and became such believers that they joined the “In JRob We Trust” club.

In terms of devotion, this made things difficult for them when things started to go badly.

When Jeffery Simmons, AJ Brown and Nate Davis were followed up as the top three picks in 2019 by Isaiah Wilson, Kristian Fulton and Darrynton Evans in 2020 along with free-agent disaster Vic Beasley and failure Jadeveon Clowney, it was hard for them to be honest with themselves because they had made such a strong declaration of commitment to the man with final personnel say for the Titans.

Then came Caleb Farley, Dillon Radunz, Monty Rice, Elijah Molden and a fourth-round trade-up for Dez Fitzpatrick.

Then the Brown trade and Treylon Burks. 

And a GM with a terrific early record was fired in-season in 2022, his seventh year.

This is why I’d suggest slowing down concerning giving Ran Carthon a chef’s hat and being part of the “Let Ran Cook” team.

First off, no one is stopping Carthon from cooking. Since the hiring of Brian Callahan and the power restructure, Carthon was given final say on personnel.

We’ve seen one group of free agents and a trade acquisition that looks great and fills many needs for the team with a diminished roster. We’ve seen one draft, also promising but with questions.

There are reasons for optimism, but we need to wait and see. And if this group of players is great, that’s a big development. It will provide reason to expect more good things but won’t guarantee them.

“In JRob We Trust” should be a cautionary tale.

Let things unfold. Hope for a consistent, successful acquisition record from a guy with a different style, who's got a smaller ego, who seems to rely on more input and is utilizing strategies from a different background.

All of this is encouraging. Now. At this stage. 

But it seems a smart approach to be a bit wary too based on what happened last time, and to watch him build over time rather than arranging an immediate commitment ceremony. There's a recent lesson that giving out a crown (or a chef's hat) can be risky, right? Things can change and change quickly, class by class, guy by guy.

This applies not only to Carthon, but to Brian Callahan to Will Levis and plenty of players and to Amy Adams Strunk who has done far more good than bad in her leadership of the franchise. 

Still, there is a large, and certainly a loud, element of the fan base that seems to feel because she’s done so much good that it’s a crime against the franchise to be critical of her in any way. 

Putting out a message of support for Mike Mularkey shortly before firing him and sending signals through a national media person that Mike Vrabel was fine beyond 2024 before firing him after the season is not the steady football leadership from her that she’s displayed in other areas, building the franchise up to modern standards and getting a new stadium deal done.

It’s OK to approve largely of someone’s work, and to still judge it in segments, to look at specific cases.

Too often in Nashville, Titans fans jump all in and can’t see any grey. Too many were baffled at any discussion that mentioned Derrick Henry, as great as he was as what he was good at, having a deficiency in his game as a pass-catcher.

People can be very good overall but lacking in an area. People can have a good draft and then a bad draft. People can follow a good stretch with a bad stretch. People can be good and get bad. It takes time to establish a real track record and to get to know them and their work.

You can get overly excited if you like, of course. Declare your unwavering trust in JRob. But doesn't it put you in a bad spot when things turn and he becomes untrustworthy?

There is something to be learned there as you consider the full endorsement of Carthon as your chef.

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