According to Pro Football Focus, the Tennessee Titans posted a poor EPA per pass play rating because of quarterback Marcus Mariota.
It’s no secret that the Tennessee Titans have had struggles throwing the ball in recent years, but is quarterback Marcus Mariota the sole person to blame for it?
Pro Football Focus took a look at the Titans’ Expected Points Average (EPA) per pass play from 2018 and ranked Mariota and co. 26th in the NFL.
As PFF breaks it down, EPA is “the expected number of points the offense should expect to score on the next scoring play given the down, distance and field position.”
While we knew the Titans were nothing special through the air last season after finishing with the 29th-best passing offense, PFF turns the spotlight on Mariota and blames him for the poor rating.
Here’s what PFF’s Ben Linsey had to say.
"26. Tennessee TitansIt’s easy to attribute Marcus Mariota’s struggles last season to the elbow injury that affected him late in the season, but looking at a larger sample, Mariota has struggled from a clean pocket throughout his career, indicating it may be time sooner rather than later for the Titans to move on. Since 2015, Mariota hasn’t ranked above 22nd in grade from a clean pocket, and his 19 interceptions from a clean pocket since 2017 are the most in the NFL."
PFF then goes on to explain that a budding Corey Davis and the addition of rookie A.J. Brown could help improve things.
Is it all Marcus Mariota’s fault?
Let’s not all go panicking just yet. There is reason for optimism in Mariota’s fifth season in the league. For starter’s, Mariota should be over his elbow injury and healthier than he was in 2018.
The Titans have done a good job improving the offensive line this offseason. To say things were messy upfront for Tennessee on offense would be accurate, as was evident by the 42 sacks allowed last year.
The addition of left guard Rodger Saffold should help, as well as having right guard Kevin Pamphile healthy for an entire season. In case Pamphile doesn’t work out, fellow guard and third-round pick Nate Davis is another candidate to give Tennessee a boost upfront.
The Titans did add Brown to the receiver’s room, but they also added an experienced veteran in slot receiver Adam Humphries. Furthermore, the return of Delanie Walker is a huge plus for Mariota, potentially giving the 25-year-old the best group of pass-catchers he has played with in his career.
Clean pockets don’t mean much if you have a lackluster receiving corps. That will not be the case this time around.
If all the new additions work out and Mariota still can’t get it done, there will be no more excuses. Of course, excuses won’t matter at that point because Mariota may be on his way out of town after the 2019 campaign if he has a poor showing.
While the blame thrown towards Mariota is understood, it can’t all be thrown on his shoulders alone. Let’s just see what he can do with some big upgrades in his contract year.