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Patriots’ Bill Belichick praises Titans QB Marcus Mariota ahead of playoff matchup

Marcus Mariota, Titans

The Tennessee Titans have garnered their first playoff win in more than a decade that has set up a matchup with the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots in the divisional round.

Ahead of the matchup, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick voiced much praise toward the Titans third-year quarterback Marcus Mariota for his ability to effectively handle the significant workload under center, according to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk.

“They give him quite a bit of responsibility,” Belichick told reporters on Monday regarding Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota. “He can, obviously, handle it well. He did a very good job running the no-huddle offense and making plays and adjustments at the line of scrimmage against Kansas City. If he sees a situation in the passing game that he doesn’t like he’s very strong and athletic enough to extend plays, whether that’s to buy time for the receivers to get open, throw on the run or in some cases advance the ball himself. He can do all of those things and he does a good job with the decision-making process as those situations occur. That goes in the red area, third down and out in the field. He’s a smart player that has good judgment, makes good decisions.”

Although Mariota struggled to build off his promising 2016 campaign, he was to continue to showcase that he can make plays with both his arm and legs that can positively impact his team. He put that on display against in the comeback win over the Kansas City Chiefs last Saturday leading his team back from an 18-point first-half deficit with three touchdown drives in the second half.

His ability to extend plays with his legs even helped become the first player in league history to register both a passing and receiving touchdown in the same game. Mariota is a uniquely talented quarterback that has shown he can lead his team to success.

However, he will be tasked this upcoming weekend with trying to dethrone the Patriots on the road in an intense playoff atmosphere. It could be another test for Mariota to demonstrate that he is the legitimate franchise quarterback that Tennessee can build around for the next decade.