NBC Sports’ Chris Simms has once again disrespected Tennessee Titans quarterback, Marcus Mariota.
Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota has already been disrespected by NBC Sports’ Chris Simms, but now he’s at it once again.
Simms’ list not only upset several NFL fanbases, but even Hall of Fame quarterback Kurt Warner had beef with where he ranked New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and New Orleans Saints signal-caller, Drew Brees. Those two Hall of Famers were ranked No. 9 and No. 10, respectively.
During a segment of Pro Football Talk Live, he and Mike Florio were breaking down their No. 28 storyline of the NFL season and Simms made it clear he believes Mariota is not so much a quarterback as he is a good athlete playing the position.
Here it is, In Simms’ own words.
“You’ve heard me say, he’s a great athlete who plays quarterback, instead of a quarterback who’s a great athlete.”
Simms goes on to say that Mariota was able to use his athleticism to get by while at Oregon, however that same athleticism isn’t good enough to outrun the faster defenders in the NFL. Because of that, Mariota has been more susceptible to injury, and mistakes in general.
This comes from the fact that Titans general manager Jon Robinson said he told Mariota that it’s OK to throw the ball away and “let’s live to play another play” instead of taking unnecessary risks like forcing the ball into turnovers or taking a big hit after taking off with the football.
While that advice is certainly valid and something Mariota needs to work on, calling him “a great athlete who plays quarterback” is doing a disservice to Mariota’s skill set.
Why is Chris Simms wrong?
The 25-year-old has seen his completion percentage rise in each of the last two years, culminating in a career-high 68.9-percent completion rate in 2018. Furthermore, Mariota has shown accuracy while under pressure, completing passes at a 72.5-percent clip last season, good enough for fourth-best in the NFL.
We’ve seen Mariota show he has a clutch gene and his ability to throw the deep ball has been impressive. Mariota has plenty of good old-fashioned quarterback traits in him, so Simms’ description of what he is on the football field just comes off as disrespectful.
Simms doesn’t seem to want to talk about Mariota having lackluster protection last year or a receiving corps. that has lacked depth his entire career. Nor does he want to talk about Mariota missing his favorite target for the entirety of the 2018 campaign, tight end Delanie Walker.
Are there things in Mariota’s game he needs to fix? Absolutely.
Was the Titans’ GM right in saying Mariota needs to take less risks to limit his mistakes and chances at injury? Of course.
But Mariota belongs in this league and will be a damn good quarterback if he can put all his positive traits together with a strong supporting cast around him. This isn’t just some guy running around the football field getting lucky here and there.
As for now, Mariota can only respond with his play on the field in order to shut these kinds of short-sighted opinions down for good—including opinions from those who didn’t have a shred of the talent during their career that the Oregon product currently does.