If anyone reading this happens to be the owner of a Tennessee based theme park, Marcus Ardel Taulauniu Mariota would be a great name for a roller coaster. As Titans fans we all know it’s been one hell of a ride for Marcus since being drafted in 2015 with all the injuries, OC changes, dropped balls, and a less than stellar Offensive Line. With the hiring of Arthur Smith as the Titans new Offensive Coordinator it’s another new face for the Titans Quarterback, and it’s another twist in the career of the Quarterback known as MM8.
I will make clear that I am not a self-professed Mariota doubter. It’s clear he has been a major topic of conversation over the course of the last two weeks.
I do want to say that Alex Daugherty does bring logical and sound points to his argument about the potential of Tannehill starting games due to a (another) Mariota injury.
There have been numerous times that friends and family have asked me, “Do you think Mariota is the guy?” Flat out, I do, and so do his teammates. “Well, Tres, they’re only saying that so they don’t create turmoil in the locker room.” Yeah, sure they could be or we could flip that coin and say, “what if they really believe in the guy?” The other night, I got home and turned on the 2018 MNF against the Cowboys. Marcus was stellar, and to think about the undisclosed extent of his injuries throughout the entire 2018, there is no doubt that Mariota is one of the toughest guys doing it right now.
2019 projections for QB, Marcus Mariota:
Projected Passing: 330 passing attempts, 212 completions, 64% completion, 3,500 yards, 25 touchdowns, 13 interceptions
Projected Rushing: 55 carries, 310 yards, 5 touchdowns
2019 has been, by far, Jon Robinson’s best offseason with the Free Agency additions and with the Draft class he just brought in. There is no doubt in my mind that this team believes in Marcus Mariota. There is no doubt that the 2018 – which was full of injuries, dropped balls, bad officiating, and even a hurricane – was a let down, but you can see that the injury plagued Quarterback stepped up and played and when he was on the field, there was a significant difference in how this team played.
Late in 2018, Derrick Henry’s game skyrocketed, and it was a ton of fun to watch. I believe with the changes that took place on the Offensive Line, we will continue to see King Henry stiff arm defenders throughout the year. With the addition of Adam Humphries, AJ Brown, and the return of Delanie Walker, I believe we’ll see a spike in Marcus Mariota’s ability to wear down defenses with the Titans ability to convert first downs. I believe it goes without saying, but if Marcus Mariota can have this projected success, win the AFC and lead the Titans to the playoffs; a contract is due. Marcus has known himself able to perform at a high level when his back is against the wall. With Marcus adding 5-10 pounds this offseason, it shows that he is focused on removing any excuses for himself prior to the season. However, the real good news is, the Titans signed a rookie OC so he could have the best offense in the league and won’t leave us.
This team is shaping up to a real Super Bowl contender. I will continue to put out projections for key contributors on Offense and Defense, so keep an eye out for them!
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Article by Tres Winn
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