The Tennessee Titans drafted WR Kendall Wright with the 20th pick of the 2012 draft, which has created a bit of a stockpile at the WR position. The person most on the outset: Marc Mariani.
Mariani was one of the Titans seventh-round selections in the 2010 NFL Draft. At first many thought he was Jeff Fisher playing a favor, as Mariani had played football with Jeff’s son in Montana as members of the Grizzlies. We all quickly learned that Mariani was more than a favor as he beat out Damian Williams, drafted four rounds before him as a return specialist.
Mariani continued to prove it as he earned a Pro Bowl appearance after his rookie year and put up another solid performance in his second year.
But now the team needs more. The current roster consists of six receivers: Kenny Britt, Kendall Wright, Nate Washington, Damian Williams, Lavelle Hawkins, and Marc Mariani. That’s a lot of receivers and as of right now, Mariani looks to at the end of the list, which makes him expendable. Especially after reports about Palmer wanting to get Williams more involved in the return game and Wright practicing catching punts.
The return game had been dead for years before Mariani came on the scene. I still have nightmares of Ryan Mouton muffing returns (throwing a game against the Jets). Mariani actually made our return game a threat. Unfortunately, due to new rules and regulations, the return game isn’t nearly as big a part of the NFL as it used to be. Returners have to be a bigger part of the team and that means that they actually have to be able to make contributions in the receiving department.
That hasn’t been something Mariani has been able to do.
He has struggled to earn time on the field and one of only times I can think of is when he was unable to catch a game winning touchdown pass against the New Orleans Saints in the last seconds of the game.
Mariani is a fan favorite and a great return man. Hopefully he can make improvements in his receiving game. But even then, are the Titans really looking to keep six receivers?
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