Titans bench Marcus Mariota for Ryan Tannehill after slow start vs. Broncos
Enough is enough. After less than three-quarters of play, the Tennessee Titans felt they had seen enough of quarterback Marcus Mariota, as they subbed in backup Ryan Tannehill while down 13-0 against the Denver Broncos.
Mariota’s performance warranted the benching. For the game, he went 7 for 18 (38.9% completion rate) for 63 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions, good for a 9.5 passer rating. He was also sacked three times for seven yards.
The switch between quarterbacks shouldn’t be surprising. After Week 3’s loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars, calls for Tannehill were prevalent. However, the Titans never did so, with head coach Mike Vrabel claiming there weren’t thinking about it in-game, despite the broadcast showing Tannehill warming up with his helmet on.
Now, after another poor performance, Vrabel and Co. made the call. Perhaps to light a fire under Mariota — who hadn’t thrown an interception before Sunday — or see what they have in Tannehill, who they traded for from the Miami Dolphins in the offseason.
Though a backup, Tannehill is a seasoned starter in the NFL. The No. 8 overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft — out of Texas A&M — he started 88 out of 88 games played for the Dolphins. In doing so, he compiled a 42-46 record while passing for 20,434 yards, 123 touchdowns and 80 interceptions on a 62.8% completion rate.
With the benching, Mariota’s time in Tennesee may be running up, especially if Tannehill out-performs him.
The 2015 No. 2 overall pick is on the last year of his rookie deal, and there have been little indications that the Titans brass is keen on extending him.