Titans News Links: Marcus Mariota Continues Assault on the NFL
By Les Bailey
Following their practice on Thursday, the Tennessee Titans get a few days off before getting back to work on Monday and getting ready for the Buffalo Bills and week five. After the heartbreaking loss to the Indianapolis Colts last Sunday, tight end Delanie Walker asked for players to spend time in the film room to prepare for the Bills instead of partying.
Even though the Titans are on a break, rookie quarterback Marcus Mariota continues to draw attention throughout the NFL, joining New England quarterback Tom Brady as the NFL’s Offensive Rookie of the Month in September.
Brady tied Peyton Manning‘s record receiving his eighth AFC Player of the Month Award as reported by Bleacher Report featured columnist Mike Chiari.
Titans Online senior editor Jim Wyatt reported that on Thursday, Mariota joined an elite group of former Titans/Oilers players to receive this award.
Mariota is the fourth Titans/Oilers player to win NFL Rookie of the Month honors. He joins Eddie George (September 1996), Jevon Kearse (September, November and December 1999) and Chris Johnson (September 2008).
The Titans fell to 1-2 and tied with everyone else in the AFC South after their 35-33 loss to the Colts, but in the opening salvo, Mariota was 61 of 97 passing for 833 yards and eight touchdowns. He threw only two picks with one highly questionable. His passer rating sits at 109.2
ESPN Analyst and former head coach Jon Gruden projected that Mariota would be the 2015 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year, but with his early performance, he is in line for Rookie of the Year honors.
The NFL Channel’s Around the NFL writer Chris Wesseling has Mariota at the top of his Rookie of the Year Watch.
"Gregg Rosenthal highlighted Mariota’s overlooked Week 3 performance in this week’s Quarterback Index. Mariota threw for 367 yards and authored a perfect two-minute drill to give his team a chance to push the game into overtime, yet the postgame fallout centered on the Colts. That’s how lofty the expectations have risen for the NFL’s most impressive rookie."
The Titans signal caller leads Oakland Raiders wide receiver Amari Cooper, Atlanta Falcons pass rusher Vic Beasley, Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Marcus Peters and Detroit Lions running back Ameer Abdullah to round out the top five.
Number one draft pick, Tampa Bay quarterback Jameis Winston is ranked ninth in the watch list.
I particularly liked an article by R. Kyle Harris at SB Nations Music City Miracles entitled Marcus Mariota: He’s Even Better Than You Think
Harris points out how Mariota compares to other quarterback around the league:
Through 3 weeks, Marcus Mariota is 8th in the league in passing yards, tied for 4th in passing TDs, 7th in QB rating,
And how he has improved the Tennessee Titans offense:
In 2014 the Titans best offensive game produced 28 points. They only scored over 20 points 5 times. The Titans scored 13 points or fewer 7 times. The 2014 Titans were 30th in points per game, 29th in yards per game, and 22nd in passing yards per game.
How about 2015? The Titans have scored 42, 14, and 35 points. 42 and 35 would have been far and away our highest scoring games last year. The Titans are 5th in the league in points per game, 10th in the league in yards per game, and 15th in passing yards per game.
We have jumped significantly in every single category, and are a borderline elite offense through 3 games.
In three years in Oregon, Marcus Mariota had a 36-5 record and is showing the NFL brass that through hard work and and spending the time necessary to learn this game at a pro level, a spread quarterback can be successful in the National Football League.
His body of work at this point is not large, but if he can stay the course and the Titans can get some pieces around him, they can become a dynasty in the AFC South and maybe there will be another Super Bowl appearance in the future.
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