MOBILE, Ala. —New Titans offensive coordinator Terry Robiskie can hardly wait to work with his young quarterback.
Marcus Mariota, Robiskie said, gives him plenty to consider.
"Marcus is a special talent, a special guy, a special player,'' Robiskie said. "He looks like just a natural-born football player. He looks like a guy who enjoys playing the game and looks like he is having fun doing it."
Robiskie's vision of the Titans offense isn't just about fun and games, however.
"Smart, tough, physical, nasty, yet aggressive,'' Robiskie said when asked what he wants the team's offense to be known for under his watch. "Step on your throat and keep it there. Put your foot to the metal, keep your foot to the pedal, whatever that is, (we want) to play aggressive, physical, nasty football, but smart, doing it within the lines, within the rules.
"I have always been a big believer in just aggressive, physical, nasty football. Bloody your nose and let's go play. Marcus kind of opens the playbook up a little bit more, gives you more options. He creates more problems for the defense, so we have to take that into consideration."
Hired last week as the team's offensive coordinator, Robiskie spoke publicly on Wednesday from the Senior Bowl for the first time since taking the job.
Robiskie, who will call the plays for the Titans on offense, joined the team after spending the past eight seasons as wide receivers coach with the Falcons. Robiskie has 34 years of coaching experience in the NFL, including six seasons as an offensive coordinator.
During a 15-minute conversation with reporters covering Senior Bowl practices, Robiskie touched on a number of topics.
He's already talked with Mariota, and said the two had a "good conversation."
"He's eager to go,'' Robiskie said. "He's fired up, and he's ready."
Robiskie said he expects Mariota to make a smooth transition into a redesigned offense, which he promised to not make too complicated for the second-year QB. He said the team's run-pass ratio will be determined "game by game."
"We'll try to have a balance,'' he said. "But one day it might take the passing game to win it, and one game it might take the running game to win it."
Robiskie said he joined the Titans because of the respect he has for coach Mike Mularkey, who he coached with in Atlanta.
He said he's still familiarizing himself with the team's personnel, but he made it clear he's going to need to see improvements in many areas following a season when the Titans finished 30th in the NFL on offense during a 3-13 season in 2015.
Protecting Mariota, who was sacked 38 times in 12 games in 2015, will be a top priority.
"A whole lot of what we talk about as a team is going to have to be about not only protecting the football, but protecting Marcus,'' Robiskie said. "He's a special talent, and we have to do all we can do to keep him upright."
He wants his receivers to fight.
"Whatever position we have, the concept has to be, let's find physical, aggressive football players. A lot of times people say "receivers are the pretty boys. They don't like to do that,'' Robiskie said. "For us, it's the pretty boy that wants to get dirty. … Let's find receivers that want to compete. … At the end of the day, the guy who wants to put his hand in the dirt and go beat the crap out of the person across from him. And I'm not saying just saying go physically push him and block him, go beat him to the ball. Go outrun him, play faster. Who can do right longer? Me or you? Let's go find that guy."
Across the board, Robiskie wants to change the mindset of the players on offense.
On Wednesday, he kept going back to one theme. Robiskie wants to establish a physical brand of football in Tennessee, and he thinks Mariota can play a huge role there, too.
"Because you say physical it is not always the o-line or the d-line or a linebacker. Everybody is capable of doing it,'' Robiskie said. "We don't expect Marcus to go down there and knock somebody out, but he is a physical, competitive guy.
"Sometimes quarterbacks make some unbelievable runs that help you win the game. He can be a physical guy."