Tennessee Titans fans are wrong to doubt Marcus Mariota

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 21: Marcus Mariota (8) of the Tennessee Titans holds off Jatavis Brown (57) of the Los Angeles Chargers during the Tennessee Titans against the Los Angeles Chargers at Wembley Stadium on October 21, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 21: Marcus Mariota (8) of the Tennessee Titans holds off Jatavis Brown (57) of the Los Angeles Chargers during the Tennessee Titans against the Los Angeles Chargers at Wembley Stadium on October 21, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images) /

A quick education for some Tennessee Titans fans.

So, some people out there are ready for the Tennessee Titans to give up on Marcus Mariota so that they can spend a high draft pick on one of these quarterbacks.

Honestly, that makes sense I mean any time you can take a chance on Drew Lock you have to right? I mean in the three SEC games he has played this year he has *squints* 48% completion, 1 TD and 5 INT (vomits).

No, not only is there no QB in the mid to late first round that the Titans could land that would be an improvement, there won’t be a QB in the entire draft better than Marcus Mariota. The one player I like is Justin Herbert and he is probably going back to school.

Still. Let’s imagine that the Titans have a chance at Herbert who get busted with a gas mask or something the day of the draft, should the Titan take him? Absolutely not.

A lot of you are blaming Marcus Mariota for things that are entirely out of his control.

But he only has 1,030 passing yards!

Yea, but he has only played in 4 games this season when you factor in his injury in the Dolphins game and him coming in late to the Jaguars game. In games where he has played a full contest, he is averaging over 200 yards and would be well over 3,000 for an entire season (3,308).

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A 3,000 yard season isn’t even good, the good QBs throw for 4,000 or more!!

Alright, maybe 3,000 is a lower number than you want to see but you have to understand the context of this offense. It is supposed to be a more modern offense, but in all honesty we aren’t even close yet.

According to Team Rankings, the Tennessee Titans only pass the ball on 53% of the plays. That is 3rd least in the NFL. The only teams they are in front of are the Rams (who run the ball because they have the best RB in football and because they are always ahead and trying to chew clock) and the Seahawks.

For reference, the New York Giants are throwing the ball 68.5% of the time and they lead the NFL. If Mariota was in an offense with anywhere near that sort of volume he would be on pace for a 4,300 yard season.

But what about his turnovers? How can you support a QB who doesn’t have a great TD to INT ratio?!

Look, the fact that the Titans aren’t scoring touchdowns is a big concern. They need to be addressing that issue with a trade or with some serious changes to how the games are coached during this bye week.

However there is a simple explanation for Mariota’s turnovers. First off all, let’s just talk about how the Titans coaches kept him on the field after he couldn’t feel his fingers in Miami. The first two interceptions of the season came in that game and how can you fault a guy for throwing a pick with he can’t feel his hand and is forced to throw a ball?

Through the other five games he has 3 TDs and 3 INTs. The first INT during that stretch was his fault completely. He wasn’t on the same page as the receiver and just floated one.

The next INT came against Buffalo when Nick Williams got bullied for a ball that he should have at the very least knocked down. This was before he dropped a TD pass later in the game.

Last week he gets a pass tipped at the LOS that turns into an interception as he was passing to a wide open receiver for a would be TD.

Well maybe if he made better decisions he would have so many bad INTs!

No. That isn’t how this works and there is one big reason why: drops.

As you can see the Titans are the 2nd worst team in the NFL at catching the ball when it hits them in the hands. That is a terrible job and it is something that the wide receivers in that room should be embarrassed about.

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On top of screwing Mariota out of potential chunk gains, TD or even completions that keep them ahead of the sticks, it also sows doubt in the QBs mind.

What I mean by that is, imagine if you were throwing passes to three of your friends. Let’s call them Cody, Tyler and Tajae Sharpe.

If you are playing against some other friends and Cody and Tyler just drop perfect passes to you that you would have gotten big gains on, don’t you think you would pass it to your other friend?

At that point if you can only trust one of the three because they aren’t playing well then you are going to make bad decisions. You are going to have to make decisions that ultimately you know are wrong, but because you have been burned by the other two you have to trust that the third guy will make a play.

Sometimes you are right and other times you aren’t, but those drops do more than hurt you short term, they also hurt you long term because it limits the options you trust.

So are you saying that even though the Titans are bottom-5 in scoring and Mariota isn’t lighting up the box scores that I look at, he is still a good quarterback?

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Yep. As hard as it may be to believe just looking at the stats on the page, Mariota is still a good QB. He is being crippled by a run heavy call sheet, drops and also losing 75% of his receiving production from last year (Delanie Walker, Rishard Matthews, DeMarco Murray, Eric Decker).

That combined with a team still trying to stay healthy and find their footing in a new offense called by a first time play caller, is holding this team back.

As the season goes on I think we will see games closer to what we saw vs the Chargers and Eagles, and less like what we saw against the Ravens and Bills.

This is a team with a good QB who has moderate firepower and who should only get better with time. The more aggressive Matt LaFleur is the better this offense will be, but until then know that the Titans haven’t lost a single game this year that was because of Mariota and in fact the only reason they probably won the Eagles and Jaguars games was because of 8.

Blaming him shows a lack of understanding of what makes a football player effective and good, and it relies heavily on pointing to numbers in a box score to back up your point instead of what actually happens on the field.

Watch the games. Understand where this is all going wrong. Then apologize to Mariota. It is that simple.