Marcus Mariota Gets Through First Titans Rookie Mini Camp


It’s time to quit referring to Marcus Mariota as a former Oregon quarterback and start addressing the 21 year-old Heisman Trophy winner as the Tennessee Titans rookie quarterback.

The first big test will come in week six on October 18th when the Miami Dolphins come to town with Ndamakong Suh terrorizing the offensive line.

According to Jim Wyatt at the Tennesseean, Mariota tried to blend in as just another rookie at the start of the rookie mini-camp on Friday morning, but as the open portion of the workout started, the press and cameramen were having no part of it. He instantly became the focus as activities began at Saint Thomas Sports Park.

You can find links to all the on-field reports in my Saturday Morning edition of First Down And Tenn.

With Rookies getting acclimated this weekend before the veteran players show up next week for scheduled OTA’s the talk continues to be centered around Mariota’s ability to play the game at the NFL level from under center, and Zach Mettenberger’s desire to be the starting quarterback.

The sixth-round draft pick out of LSU in the 2014 NFL Draft has continued to indicate he intends to be the starting quarterback when the season opens with Jameis Winston and the Tampa Bay Bucs on September 13th.

As reported by Adam Kaplan last week at ESPN, Mettenberger says he won’t go down without a fight during training camp and is “extremely confident in himself – even to a fault”!

Mariota is quietly going about his business as a rookie, but said:

"“I’m going to have the same mindset,” Mariota said. “Overall, I think together that will make the team better. Competition will drive this team. I’ve gotten to know Zach, Zach’s an awesome guy, he’s helped me out since I’ve been here. I think as this process goes on we’ll be able to push each other and make this team better.”"

I know many of you out there are huge Zach Mettenberger fans, and I was impressed with what I saw last year before he got hurt, especially in the Monday Night Pittsburgh Steelers game. But the one thing that Zach doesn’t have that Marcus does, is that speed.

With little help coming for the offensive line during free agency and the draft, no matter who starts the season under center in Music City, they will need to be mobile, and that’s not Zach Mettenberger.

The first big test will come in week six on October 18th when the Miami Dolphins come to town with Ndamakong Suh terrorizing the offensive line.

We know from the past six years how easy the monster from Nebraska via the Detroit Lions can get to a quarterback, and with the current state of the right side of the line, Mariota and/or Mettenberger will need to be on their A-Game for this first big test.

The Titans will not have to deal with Dante Fowler Jr. two times this year due to his ACL problem, but there is always the Houston Texans. We know how J.J. Watt can wreck an offense, but there is the possibility that Jadeveon Clowney will be back in action this year, and that’s double trouble if I ever saw it.

The Titans play Houston in Week 8 on November 1st in Houston and at home in Week 16 in Nashville before closing out the season against the Indianapolis Colts.

I think barring injury during training camp, or pre-season, Marcus Mariota will be the day one starter . You have to know the media will hype the first game that includes the first and second draft picks going against each other in the opener.

But on a team coming off a 2-14 season, there should be plenty of opportunities for Zach Mettenberger to play during the 2015 season. I know I don’t want to see Charlie Whitehurst strapping on his helmet and running on to the field like he did last year.

In the Adam Kaplan article on, Mettenberger said:

"“Biggest thing I learned as a rook is the business and politics of this game and it’s not always what you want, especially as a low-round pick no matter how well you think you do,” Mettenberger said. “But you keep fighting to earn the respect you think you deserve. Also learn I can play in this game and can compete with the best if I’m given a chance.”"

You have to hope Mett will accept the role he will more than likely leave training camp with, whether it be because of his abilities or politics, as the back-up quarterback and be ready when and if Marcus Mariota goes down to an injury.

Although I think Mariota has the distinct advantage going into 2015, if both quarterbacks accept that 2015 will be a challenge for both of them, Tennessee Titans fans should come away with what should be a successful and exciting season.

How long is it until September 13th?

Next: Tennessee Titans: Not Your Average Draft Class

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