1. The show must go on, with or without Marcus Mariota (but it will go on longer with him)
This is the year for Marcus Mariota. If Arthur Smith does modernize the offense like I think/hope he will, then there is no excuse for Mariota to do poorly in 2019.
I don’t think raw stats or wins will be a good way to judge him, but I don’t think it will come to that with every single Titans fan locked in on his every move. The tape will tell the tale and with so many different offensive weapons, coaching continuity and everything on the line the next 16 games are the most important in his NFL career.
There is no quarterback competition. At all. If Ryan Tannehill comes out and throws for 20 touchdowns in the preseason, he is more likely to get traded for a high pick than he is to start for the Tennessee Titans.
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However, if Marcus Mariota gets hurt again which is every Titans fans greatest fear (and something that now seems inevitable every year) that won’t be the downfall of the Titans season.
When they traded for Ryan Tannehill the Titans coaching staff and front office added a layer of protection for themselves and for the team. Now, with two competent quarterbacks on the roster, a game without Mariota isn’t a death sentence.
Instead, the offense should be nearly as effective with Tannehill on the field which means that for all of the pressure being put on Marcus Mariota, it really is just pressure on one player. If he does great then Titans fans should be ecstatic and welcome him back on a big contract.
If he gets hurt, then Ryan Tannehill can come in and let him fully recover before coming back. I don’t see a scenario where Mariota isn’t hurt AND doesn’t play well. We have never seen it before and I don’t expect to see it now.
So while Mariota gives the team the best chance to win any game, the talent around him and his backup give the Titans team a chance to win any game as well.
The Tennessee Titans have improved at offensive line and wide receiver while getting healthy at tight end. They have a clear plan at running back and the depth at every position makes them a little more ready to suffer injuries than they have been in the past.
I don’t see how this team can have a losing record unless they lose some very close games and just get unlucky week after week.
TL;DR: The Tennessee Titans have above average starters at nearly every position on offense and some players like Corey Davis, Delanie Walker, Taylor Lewan, Rodger Saffold, Jack Conklin, Derrick Henry, and A.J. Brown have the potential to be Pro Bowler or All-Pros. With or without a great season from Marcus Mariota this team should be a playoff team, but they have truly great potential if Mariota is healthy and plays well.