It’s time. Marcus Mariota, it’s time to prove yourself. It’s time to ascend beyond the hype train surrounding you since being drafted in 2015. Time to make your mark on not only this team but the rest of the division. It’s time.
Mariota has the talent to be the best quarterback in this division, I don’t think anybody questions this. Injuries have slowed his progression. Now that he’s healthy that excuse is gone. Mariota has been subject to a lackluster coaching staff with a system not tailored to his skill set. That excuse is gone. Mariota hasn’t had enough talent around him to truly compete with the rest of the league. That excuse is gone.
Drafted in 2015 with the eighth overall pick, Mariota made a splash right out the gate. In fact, he made a tidal wave. Mariota’s first game, he threw for four touchdown passes and only two incompletions. In fact, Mariota became the only quarterback in the history of the game record a perfect passer rating in his first career game. SPLASH! The hype train followed and all eyes were on Mariota; similar to the Watson Wagon going on in Houston last year. An injury would, naturally, end Mariota’s rookie season after 12 games. However, Mariota finished that campaign with over 2800 yards, 19 touchdowns, and 10 picks. Great rookie numbers.
What Sophomore Slump
2016 was met with insane expectations and Mariota appeared to be answering every bell. What sophomore slump? Every step forward was taken for the Mariota despite having little talent in Tennessee. 2016 finished with another unfortunate injury that would turn out to be a plague on next season as well. A broken fibula wrapped up year two with over 3426 yards, 26 touchdowns, and 9 picks.
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A Year To Forget
I thought slumps were supposed to happen in the second season?! Well, Mariota wasn’t the same player in 2017 after a broken fibula. Just ask Derek Carr with the Raiders about a broken fibula and its impact. Mariota missed time with a hamstring injury during this season along with recovering from the fibula. 2017 was just a season to scrap. Despite all of that, the Titans made the playoffs and even won the wild card game against the heavily favored Chiefs. Mariota began looking like himself again in the postseason. He did all he could against Tom Brady and the Pats in the divisional round… it just wasn’t enough. Mariota’s third season ended with a disappointing 3232 yards and only 13 touchdowns with 15 picks.
Looking Forward to 2018
2018 has been a carousel. The Titans have finally surrounded Marcus Mariota with an offensive coach that will use his talents. Tennessee is younger and more talented as a whole. The team is largely healthy for the first time in a while. Mariota’s time is now. Matt LaFleur’s offense looks to utilize Mariota both as an aggressive thrower and a dangerous runner.
I’m projecting Mariota with the following stat line for 2018:
4100 yards, 32 touchdowns passing, 5 rushing touchdowns, and 9 interceptions.