Tennessee Titans new general manager Jon Robinson won his introductory press conference on Monday, now can he find a way to help the Titans win games on the football field.
Introduced to the Nashville media for the first time on Monday, Robinson spoke from the heart and the emotion was evident in his voice as he spoke of his parents, family and love for the Titans since the team moved to Nashville in 1997.
A native of Union City, Robinson admitted being able to return home to Tennessee was a dream come true.
Thanks Steve (Underwood). Man it feels good to be home, it really feels good to be home. I can’t thank the good Lord enough for guiding me and my journey throughout this football life. Thanks especially to Amy, Kenneth and the entire Adams family, words thank you are not enough. I’m eternally grateful for the opportunity that you have given me not only to be the general manager but to work with Coach (Mike) Mularkey," said Robinson.
"To my family, my wife Jamie, daughters Taylor and Bailey, thank you for your support. Your love and most importantly your understanding of time constraints of professional football. To my dad, mom and sister Alison, I love you guys. Thank you so much dad and mom for raising me the right way, teaching me to work hard. Your parenting is the reason that I am here today," said Robinson, his voice noticably cracking as he spoke. "My sister Alison, thank you for being my receiver, running back and about four other positions in our front yard football drills. Some people along the way that I would like to say thank you to, my high school coaches Randy Barnes and Barry Duncan. Thanks for all the lessons you taught me Coach. To Mike Hutchens, the trusted confidant there in my little hometown, thank you. To my college coach Jay Thomas, who is like an older brother to me. I can’t say thank you enough to Jay for all that he taught me about football and about life. To Mr. Kraft and the entire Kraft family, thank you for letting me be a part of a truly special organization. Scott Pioli, for taking a chance on a young linebackers coach at Nicholls State University. Thomas Dimitroff and Nick Caserio, not only for your tutelage in the world of personnel, but for your friendship. To Coach (Bill) Belichick, thank you so much for the discussions we had about football. Thank you for including me in the process of the Patriot Way and thank you for letting me observe really what it means to build a team. To the Glazer family in Tampa, thank you so much for the opportunity you gave me to saddle up with Jason Licht there. The future certainly looks bright there with a lot of the young players we were able to add to that football team. And last but certainly not least, to Jason Licht, the general manager in Tampa. Jason put his neck on the line for me 14 years ago when I was a young coach and recommended me to the Patriots organization. He has been a true friend throughout the profession and he did the same thing two years ago when he offered me the chance to come to Tampa as his personnel director. Jason thanks again for allowing me to lead the personnel department there for you and most importantly thank you for your friendship."
"Our goal here is to win, bottom line. That is a measuring stick that all franchises are measured by. Mike (Mularkey) and I have an aligned vision of what we want this team to look like. We want tough players, we want coachable players, we want smart players and most importantly we want players with a team-first attitude. My role here is to insure we find those players. I will coach the personnel staff on the type of players that we want and identify the guys that are true fits of what we are looking for in a Titan. Thank you," concluded Robinson.
Sitting in the auditorium and listening to Robinson for the first time, every media member I spoke with walked away with a positive impression of the new general amager, though his work is just begining as is now tasked with remaking the roster of a team that has struggled to win just five games in the last two seasons.
Robinson spoke on his immediate to-do list and shared his vision for the Titans.
"It is first to evaluate the staff. I have met with the in-house staff. I have been on the road at school calls and college games with some of the road scouts, but the next four months will be an evaluation process for me and those guys. Senior Bowl is next week so we will hit the ground running with that with player evaluation," said Robinson. "Free agency is right around the corner. We are going to probably instill our philosophy really more so in May, but again attack free agency and the draft with that philosophy now. The actual grading scale and the numeric changes and the values we place on specific positions that will occur more in May, post-draft, rather than trying to change something midstream currently."
Robinson also shared his initial thoughts on the Titans current roster.
"They spanked us pretty good in the first game there down in Tampa (where Robinson served as the Director of College Scouting this past season) I have evaluated the players. That was one of the things that I liked about Mike is that he had personal interaction with the players on the roster, so he could help me identify really the personalities," added Robinson. "All I have to go off of is what I see on film. I think in the end we want to put the most competitive 90 guys out there on the field this spring during OTAs as we can and let them battle it out. That is what we want to be. As Mike and I have both referred to, we want a tough, physical football team and we are going to try to get 90 guys out there that are tough and physical and get to 53 in August."
The entire press conference lasted just over fifty-minutes, but it was Robinson's final statement, directed at fans of the team that garnered the most media attention and should lend hope to fans that the team has selected a man intent on doing his job and doing it well.
"I just had a couple closing notes here. If you only remember one thing from this presser, please remember this. This goes out to our fans. This is my home, and you guys are my family. I’ve been a Titans fan ever since ’97 when this football team moved here. We’re going to build this team the right way. All decisions that we make will be made in the best interest of this team – your football team. Please let us earn your support," concluded Robinson. "I grew up on a small 10-acre farm in West Tennessee. I watched my dad get up every morning and drive to a tire plant where he worked for 30-plus years. My mother packed his lunchbox before he walked out. I helped work that farm as supplemental income. I know what hard work is. Coach knows what hard work is. I was part of an organization in New England for 12 years that is still the standard of excellence today. We’re ready to go to work for you because you’re our family. Thank you."