Marcus Mariota on the verge of “bust status” for the Tennessee Titans?
Brent Sobleski of Bleacher Report says that Tennessee Titans QB Marcus Mariota is near “bust status”, but is he right?
Right now, Marcus Mariota is the closest thing the NFL has to a Rorschach test. People project what they want to see onto #8 and then use statistics to back it up.
Do you want to see a guy who isn’t doing well? Cool, look at his passing yards and touchdowns despite having offensive coordinators who chose inefficient running plays over productive passing plays, thus decreasing his volume.
How about a guy who can’t handle the stress of the NFL? Alright, point to his injury history and you can see a guy who has suffered a lot of (freak) injuries at the NFL level.
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But, what doesn’t get talked about nearly enough is if you skew it the other way. Do you want to see an exciting QB? Great, look for how accurate Mariota has been on deep passes when you include drops and adjust for volume.
Want to see a future star? Look at his time in the shotgun last year and how he took a team with two UDFA WRs that was missing their top two tight ends by the end of the season, and nearly dragged them to the playoffs?
What about finding a clutch leader who refuses to lose? That is the easiest one of all, Marcus Mariota has captained the Tennessee Titans to their second best three year stretch in team history and is on pace to have more game winning drives than nearly any other QB in NFL history.
What I appreciate about the breakdown of Marcus Mariota in that article is that Sobleski doesn’t lean on stats to paint a picture of the quarterback. Instead he focuses on the narrative, which is fine until the very end:
"“If Mariota is only as good as those around him, he’s isn’t a franchise-caliber quarterback. As Vrabel said, the Titans someone to fill the position for the next 7-10 years, not just another cog in the machine.”"
That is just simply incorrect. Marcus Mariota has been better than the talent around him since walking into the NFL. Just ask the list of receivers and running backs he had to work with that rarely lasted a year or more in the NFL when he wasn’t around them.
Mariota isn’t a cog in a machine, he is the engine that dragged a clunker to a 9-7 record in 2016, took a team with issues at linebacker, defensive back and receiver to a playoff win against the Kansas City Chiefs in 2017, and who beat three playoff teams last year despite not being able to feel his throwing hand.
"Meanwhile, the Titans are arguably the AFC South’s worst team heading into the 2019 season."
The Titans are arguably the AFC South’s worst team like they are arguably the AFC South’s best team. It is the only division in football last year to have three teams with a winning record, but more importantly the Titans roster is just flat out better than everyone else’s in the AFC South.
The Colts turned into a 3-win team the moment Luck was hurt, the Texans field the worst combination of DBs and offensive line in the NFL by a mile and their QB lives off of YOLO balls and running for this life and Jacksonville lost their best defensive player while the other contender for that title (Jalen Ramsey) is flirting with other teams and publicly ripping the Jags for not extending him.
Stop just saying things like the quote and not explaining why you think that. You can be wrong all you want, but you need to explain why the most stable team in the AFC South is suddenly going to turn into the worst team.