Still, their second-year head coaches, Dirk Koetter and Mike Mularkey, will be watching film of each other as they are led by the first (Jameis Winston) and second (Marcus Mariota) picks of the 2015 draft.
“The Titans are a team I watch a lot,” Koetter said on The Midday 180 at the NFL combine last month. “Coach Mularkey, [offensive coordinator] Terry Robiskie are two guys I have a lot of respect for. We run similar systems. Even though it may not look that way, we’re basically running the same offensive system.
“I know that’s a team I like to watch to get ideas from those guys in how they are attacking teams that we both play. They did an awesome job this year.”
Said Titans coach Mike Mularkey: “We watch a lot of them during the season. We will study them to see how they are doing things against other defenses. It is interesting where we're at. It's eerie that it's happening that way.
“I think a lot of teams do that. What's the closest to your offense? You're trying to find similarities that you can compare to and see how they're attacking people.”
The two are linked a bit, in that Koetter replaced Mularkey as offensive coordinator for the Atlanta Falcons in 2012, so some of Mularkey’s concepts were in place when Koetter took over.
Winston threw more than Mariota in their second seasons, and the Titans ran more than the Bucs. I’ve got a lot closer vantage point with Mularkey’s team than Koetter’s. I wouldn’t have thought of them as that similar offensively.
“I think that [Koetter] would say he wants that offense to start with the run game,” NFL Films producer and film analyst Greg Cosell said. “I remember talking to him a year ago after Doug Martin had the big year and he said to me he’s a critical player for us, and obviously he got hurt this year and it wasn’t the same year but he said that our offense starts with Doug Martin and that’s the most critical piece.”
“So I think maybe from that perspective they probably feel similar, because Mike’s offense starts with the run game. Normally teams that start with the run game have pass concepts that work off the run game. Those pass concepts can tend to have more intermediate and vertical routes because you can create more shot-play opportunities when you work off the run game, so in that sense they are somewhat similar as well.”
While the Bucs signed free-agent wide receiver DeSean Jackson, they will still be looking for explosive weapons in the draft. The Titans are thin at wide receiver and could really use a clear-cut No. 1 guy who dictates coverages.
“Hopefully they don’t take all the guys we want or we don’t take all the guys they want,” Koetter said.
Mularkey’s got another team he looks at a bit extra.
“I look at Dallas. I think [we are] very similar,” Mularkey said. “We've all been somewhere with somebody -- Dallas is one of them. I had to run Scott Linehan's offense when I was with the Dolphins [in 2006-07].
“I am familiar with that and I took some of the things there with me and kind of converted a little bit.”