Although it seems highly unlikely that Marcus Mariota will return to the Tennessee Titans, there are definitely reasons to keep him.
Ryan Tannehill’s injury history is enough for Tennessee Titans general manager Jon Robinson to raise questions about his long-term availability and to consider keeping Marcus Mariota around for another season.
Tannehill’s two partial ACL tears in 2016 and 2017, including a surgery that kept him out for the entirety of the 2017 season, are reasons to believe that he may get hurt again.
In 2018 he missed five games due to a capsule injury in his shoulder, and although it didn’t require surgery, it is still a means for concern.
Tannehill has a 36.9 percent chance of getting injured during the 2020 season, according to SportsInjuryPredictor.com. If Tannehill’s health does become a problem, Mariota would be one of the best backup options to have.
He already knows Arthur Smith’s offense and has shown in years past that he has the ability to lead a football team after throwing for over 3,000 yards in both the 2016 and 2017 seasons — and he also won a playoff game in 2017 in Kansas City.
If Tannehill does stay healthy, there are plenty of ways that Smith can include Mariota in the offense.
He has one of the fastest 40-yard dash times ever for a quarterback, coming in faster than both Colin Kapernick and Russel Wilson, which could come in handy with one of the best running backs in the NFL.
Looking at offenses like New Orleans and Baltimore, having a mobile backup QB opens up the playbook to option run plays. If executed correctly, these plays can be very dangerous and Mariota has the ability to do that.
Defenses will have to respect his running ability and commit to him leaving Henry, or whoever the backup is, wide open or with one less defender to worry about in the open field. Mariota also has the ability to throw the ball at a high level for a player in such a role, which makes the defense unable to solely defend the run without getting beat over top.
Mariota has caught two passes in his NFL career, one being in 2015 and the other in 2018, but that could change if the Titans decide to keep him. Taysom Hill is a great example of what Mariota could be for this Tennessee offense and the Titans should seriously consider keeping him.