Year Three is Very Important for Marcus Mariota

NASHVILLE, TN - SEPTEMBER 10: Quarterback Marcus Mariota
NASHVILLE, TN - SEPTEMBER 10: Quarterback Marcus Mariota /

Much is made of the starting quarterback position in football. One could say that teams put a short leash on their starters and make up their minds quickly. Marcus Mariota just started his third season in the NFL and this may be his most important yet.

There comes a point in every player’s development where we have to stop giving them a pass and start looking at them as NFL players. For a quarterback, that is year three. Typically, NFL starting quarterbacks get the first two years as a bit of a pass. There have been plenty of starters that have looked like studs when they were rookies and never really amount to anything afterwards. The first year in the league is normally a pretty successful one. Of course, there are growing pains that come with rookie quarterbacks, but generally they take the league by surprise. Guys like Vince Young, Robert Griffin III, Tim Tebow, Dak Prescott and Russell Wilson all found early success in their rookie seasons.

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The sophomore campaign is when the league tends to catch up to the quarterbacks. There is more film out on the player and they need to adjust to new schemes that are thrown at them. The third year is when the pro career really starts to show if the player will be a success or not. Everything Marcus Mariota has done so far in his career with the Titans has proven that he could be the real deal. Although that may be true, Mariota’s third season can give Titans fans an idea of what they really are getting in the quarterback.

What To Look For?

First thing to pay attention to is turnovers. Turnovers in the NFL are killers and can really change the way that the game is played. If Mariota can limit turnovers this year, it will be a great advantage for the young quarterback. According to Pro Football Reference, between the last two years, Mariota has 19 interceptions and 19 fumbles (not all were lost to the other team) thus far in his career. 38 turnovers in two years is really not a great mark. Again, he will get a pass for his first two seasons because of what was mentioned earlier. With that being said, those numbers are also not horrible. If he can limit the turnovers, that will bode well for his season.

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Secondly Mariota, needs to have a good completion percentage. Throughout his career, Mariota has a 61.6% completion percentage. That is decent, but obviously the higher the completion percentage the more likely the team is winning. Mariota should continue to improve and try to get the completion percentage to as close to 70% as possible. Even the best quarterbacks in the league do not have that high of a completion percentage, but it’s a good goal.


Lastly, Mariota needs to stay healthy. Health is not necessarily something you can have any control over, but Mariota has had some issues staying on the field the last two seasons. A lot of that can be changed by making better decisions. As a running quarterback, the Titans do not want to take away an aspect of Mariota’s game. At the same time, he needs to make sure when he runs that he does not take hard hits. Sliding before contact is a great way to avoid it. This is a part of the game that stinks as a fan, but protecting Mariota is important. At the end of the day, if someone else is running the offense, particularly Matt Cassel, the Titans’ playoff hopes are slim.

Year three is the time to start really judging if Mariota is the quarterback of the present and future. If he keeps performing well, it will be easy to see the Hawaii native making strides towards playoff success in the near future. The playoffs are the goal for this season. The team may have lost in the first game, but that does not change what this team can do. The AFC South may be the weakest division in football and the Titans surely have a chance to win it.