Tennessee Titans Marcus Mariota ‘one of the worst’ QBs outside pocket?

PITTSBURGH, PA - NOVEMBER 16: Marcus Mariota
PITTSBURGH, PA - NOVEMBER 16: Marcus Mariota /

Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota’s hasn’t graded out so well when playing outside the pocket, according to Pro Football Focus’ Steve Palazzolo.

Pro Football Focus’ Steve Palazzolo called Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota “one of the worst quarterbacks” in the NFL when playing outside the pocket.

He claims Mariota doesn’t have the creativity to make plays outside the pocket, and is instead dependent upon “play call, and scheme, and receivers” getting open.

Here it is in Palazzolo’s own words:

This is something Palazzolo has been on for awhile now. Last August, he noted Mariota owned a bottom-five grade when working outside the pocket:

In December, Palazzolo pointed out that Mariota’s career PFF grade was a 41.4 in that same scenario, which included rollouts and scrambles:

Mariota’s ability to make plays outside the pocket is important.

He’s a great athlete who has only improved his completion rate (career-high 68.9 percent last season) in each of the last two seasons. An ability to make plays outside the pocket only adds to the head ache Mariota creates for opposing defenses.

Simply saying “Mariota is not good outside the pocket” is short-sighted. We have to consider the fact that the 25-year-old hasn’t had good weapons around him on offense, and poor protection in general.

While making plays outside the pocket takes good improvisation skills for a quarterback, receivers also have to get open by breaking their routes to get back to the quarterback, and be able to catch the ball when it’s thrown their way.

Of course, Mariota will enjoy many more weapons on offense this season than he has ever had before in his four-year career, and protection upfront will be better. By default, both of those things should help his grade significantly this upcoming season.

We do know for a fact that Mariota is good when under pressure. The Oregon product posted the fourth-best adjusted completion percentage (72.5) when the heat was on last season, showing Mariota does have a knack for quick and successful decision-making.

That’s why these numbers are tough to just accept without looking at it further. Clearly Mariota can make the right call when things don’t go as planned, so perhaps it’s just as simple as surrounding him with better players, which will finally happen in 2019.