Marcus Mariota’s career with the Tennessee Titans has had its fair share of ups and downs but he’s at an all-time low this year. What happened to the former Heisman Trophy winner?
The Titans selected Mariota with the second-overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft. During the draft process, Mariota was regarded as one of the top quarterbacks available in the draft alongside Jameis Winston.
In his rookie campaign, Mariota showed promise as he threw for 2,818 yards, 19 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions. The Oregon product also flashed his rushing ability as he scampered for 252 yards and two scores—including an 87-yard run.
After years of despair at the position, fans in Tennessee were finally optimistic that they found their franchise quarterback. Mariota would take a sizable leap in his sophomore season as he aired it out for 3,426 yards, 26 touchdowns, and nine interceptions.
Following his second season in the NFL, many crowned Mariota as one of the best young signal-callers in the NFL. But in Mariota’s third season, his play on the field began to noticeably get worse as the season progressed.
Even with the Titans going 9-7 and making the playoffs, Mariota finished the year with only 3,232 yards, 13 touchdowns, and 15 interceptions in 15 starts. However, in the playoffs, he was able to go into Arrowhead Stadium and defeat the Kansas City Chiefs.
But his playoff success would begin and end there as he fell to the New England Patriots 35-14. From that moment on, Mariota hasn’t been the same quarterback he once was.
At one point in his career, Mariota was deemed one of the best up and coming quarterbacks in the NFL. Now, the 26-year-old is watching games with a clipboard in his hand as he watches Ryan Tannehill play the position he held for four years.
Prior to being benched, Mariota was completing a career-low 59.1 percent of his passes. He also totaled only 1,179 yards, seven touchdowns, and two interceptions in six starts. Above all, the Titans ended up going 2-4 in those six games; prompting Mike Vrabel to make a change under center.
Without a doubt, injuries have played a small role in Mariota’s demise in Tennessee. At the same time, the mobile quarterback has shown an inability to improve upon his throwing ability. If anything, Mariota is a worse quarterback than he was when he first came into the NFL; which usually isn’t the case for quarterbacks.
Sadly, Mariota is in the final year of his rookie contract, making $20.9 million in 2019. In light of that, here’s no reason to believe the Titans bring him back in 2020.
Additionally, it’s tough to imagine that a team signs Mariota with expectations of him being the starter. The downfall of Mariota with the Titans is one of the most peculiar occurrences in recent years.
We’ve seen quarterbacks come into the NFL and struggle from the very moment they step on the field. On the other hand, Marcus Mariota once showed that he belonged as a starting quarterback in the NFL.
That point may seem redundant but it’s uncanny for a quarterback to unravel as bad as Marcus Mariota has. If you’re one of the members of the front office, you have to be scratching your head when watching him play.
While the fifth-year quarterback’s time in Tennessee comes to an agonizing close, he’s still only 26-years-old. The story of Mariota’s career has seemingly hit a wall. With that being said, he could have the chance to control his own narrative beyond this year.