Tennessee Titans: Mike Vrabel explains pulling Marcus Mariota early
Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Vrabel was forced to pull quarterback Marcus Mariota earlier than he wanted to on Sunday night against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Vrabel was forced to pull his starting quarterback, Marcus Mariota, early from the Preseason Week 3 game against the Pittsburgh Steelers for safety reasons.
With the Titans’ offensive line affording awful protection for the team’s quarterbacks from the get-go, Vrabel thought it was best to end Mariota’s night early.
The awful protection led to Mariota taking one sack, backup quarterback Ryan Tannehill taking three sacks, and the Titans allowing a grand total of seven sacks in the dress rehearsal.
Here’s what Vrabel had to say, according to Jim Wyatt of Titans Online.
“We want to make sure that we can protect our quarterback — that’s important,” Vrabel said. “It’s imperative that we do that as a staff and we do that as an offensive group. … I wanted to see how the game was going, and at that point in time I thought it was in the team’s best interest and in everybody’s best interest that we get him out of the game at that point in time.”
The original plan was for Mariota to play more than the two series he did, however that just wouldn’t have been a smart move with how the O-line was playing on Sunday night. Vrabel undoubtedly made the right move to protect his starter.
Mariota didn’t mention the offensive line specifically, but did say he was disappointed in the way the offense played as a whole.
“Not the way we wanted to come out to play,” Mariota said. “A lot to learn from, but at the same time you have to continue to build. You can’t hang your head, you just have to learn from it and move on.”
Mariota took the one sack on his second and final drive of the night. It resulted in a safety, although the Titans offense was in bad shape from the jump after cornerback Adoree’ Jackson let a punt hit the ground that ended up being downed by the Steelers inside the five yard line.
Mariota finished the night without completing a pass in three attempts, and the offensive line as a whole didn’t leave much room for optimism against a Steelers defense that does deserves credit for playing well and putting pressure on the Titans.
Still, things have got to improve a lot upfront if the Titans want to weather the storm of not having left tackle Taylor Lewan for the first four games. Tennessee will be up against a tough slate of pass-rushers to start the season, with the first of those games coming on September 8th against Myles Garrett and the Cleveland Browns.