What was the Tennessee Titans’ “most boneheaded decision” in 2019, according to Bleacher Report?
Bleacher Report named the “most boneheaded decision” for every NFL team in 2019, and for the Tennessee Titans, it was the decision to stick with quarterback Marcus Mariota for as many games as they did.
While giving Mariota a chance to prove himself as the long-term solution with the best supporting cast he has ever had certainly made sense, an argument can be made that the Titans stuck with the former No. 2 overall pick for too long.
After struggling through the first six weeks of the season, the Titans replaced Mariota with fellow quarterback Ryan Tannehill in the second half of the Week 6 shutout loss to the Denver Broncos. Tannehill would go on to make his first start in Week 7 against the Los Angeles Chargers.
Since then, Tannehill is 3-1 and has three game-winning drives, while also leading the Titans to a perfect 10-for-10 in the red zone. There’s no question Tannehill has been the better fit and quarterback for the Titans since being inserted behind center.
Bleacher Report’s Chris Roling cites Mariota’s 59.1 percent completion rate and the Titans’ 2-4 record with him as the starter to explain the team’s mistake. He then goes into what Tannehill has brought to the team.
"Backup quarterback Ryan Tannehill has since replaced Mariota in the starting lineup and has a 3-1 record as a starter while completing 71.3 percent of his passes.The Titans might have thrown away their playoff hopes by sticking with Mariota for too long."
Prior to the start of the season, we heard rumblings that there might have been a divide within the Titans about who should start. A recent rumor suggested that the coaching staff wanted Tannehill, but the front office was willing to give Mariota one more shot.
Hindsight is always 20/20 and looking back it appears the wrong decision was made about who should start this season, but if this rumor is indeed true, you can’t blame the front office for wanting to give Mariota another look based on the reasons I mentioned above.
With the way Tannehill has played, one can’t help but wonder if the Titans’ fortunes would have been different this season if he had been given a shot earlier.
Now, this is not to say that 2-4 record with Mariota behind center is all his fault. The Oregon product had to overcome downright putrid pass protection and receivers dropping passes in his six starts. The Titans’ woes at kicker were also prevalent in some of those losses.
However, Mariota certainly didn’t help himself with poor pocket presence and accuracy issues when he did have time to throw the football.
In the end, the Titans got it right when they finally put Tannehill in, despite the fact that it might’ve taken too long. Now all they can do is try to finish as strong as possible in order to make the playoffs. None of this will matter if Tannehill and Co. can get that done.