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Titans’ Mike Vrabel pulled Marcus Mariota early due to poor protection

Mike Vrabel, Marcus Mariota, Titans

Marcus Mariota did not last very long during the Tennessee Titans’ preseason game against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday, as he was pulled with 4:25 remaining in the first quarter after throwing just three passes.

But Titans head coach Mike Vrabel said his decision to take Mariota out of the game had nothing to do with his performance and everything to do with the fact that he wanted to protect him:

“We want to make sure that we can protect our quarterback — that’s important,” Vrabel said, according to Jim Wyatt of the Titans’ official team website. “It’s imperative that we do that as a staff and we do that as an offensive group. … I wanted to see how the game was going, and at that point in time I thought it was in the team’s best interest and in everybody’s best interest that we get him out of the game at that point in time.”

Mariota did not complete a single pass in what ended up being an 18-6 loss, and afterward, he did not seem too happy about the performance:

“Not the way we wanted to come out to play,” Mariota said. “A lot to learn from, but at the same time you have to continue to build. You can’t hang your head, you just have to learn from it and move on.”

It has been a shaky preseason for Mariota overall, as he has completed just 10 of his 20 passes for 87 yards.
Of course, preseason doesn’t mean all that much, but for a quarterback who has struggled to find his footing over the last two years, Tennessee probably expected more out of Mariota this summer.