Admit it. Through the first four games of the season, you were worried that maybe Marcus Mariota wasn’t the answer. I know I was, and rightfully so. Through the first four games, he posted four touchdowns and five interceptions.
I can’t, nor have I seen anyone who could, explain the early struggles, but I can speculate. One theory is it took time for Mariota to build chemistry with his two starting receivers who weren’t here last year, Rishard Matthews and Tajae Sharpe. My second theory is it took time for the new coaching staff and Mariota to get to know each other. The coaching staff had to learn Mariota’s strengths and weaknesses, and Mariota had to adjust and master a new system. The third theory is every game the Titans lost was a close contest, and finally the team has started to catch a few breaks.
In the 12 games he played in 2015, he had 19 touchdowns compared to 10 interceptions. And while those numbers are decent for a young quarterback, he also has blazing speed with his legs.
This year, so far, Mariota has 21 touchdowns, which is more than his season total last year in less games.
In fact, according to NFL.com, Marcus Mariota is the seventh best quarterback in the league right now. He ranks ahead of players like Aaron Rogers, Ben Roethlisberger, Matthew Stafford, Andy Dalton, Eli Manning, and Cam Newton. His 21 touchdown passes rank fourth, only behind Matt Ryan (24), Drew Brees (24), and Aaron Rogers (22). His quarterback rating of 99.6 ranks sixth among all starting quarterbacks, behind Matt Ryan (115.1), Drew Brees (107.0), Tom Brady (125.5), Dak Prescott (106.2), and Matthew Stafford (101.6).
The interceptions really hurt him on the rankings list, and if he can get them under control and continue his streak of multiple touchdown passes, he could rise to number three or four on this list.
Which is entirely possible with games against the Bears, Colts, and Jags coming up. But there are some good defenses coming as well in the Broncos, Chiefs, and Texans.
If Mariota and the rest of the Titans bring their A game to four out of these six games, the Titans should get to see the postseason, while riding on the back of their sophomore quarterback, who got over his sophomore slump five games into his second season.