If there was ever a perfect example of a player who needed a fresh start, it’s soon-to-be former Tennessee Titans quarterback, Marcus Mariota.
One of the phrases you’ll hear associated with soon-to-be former Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota during this offseason is “a fresh start.”
After five years with the Titans, Mariota is set to become a free agent after losing his starting job to fellow signal-caller Ryan Tannehill during the 2019 season.
Mariota started six games for Tennessee, but proved to be ineffective for multiple reasons, one of which was horrid pass protection from his offensive line. Even when he had good protection, Mariota was holding the ball for too long, not finding open receivers, and making poor throws.
As a result, the Titans started out 2-4 and decided to make the switch to Tannehill, who effectively saved their season and helped take them to the playoffs after reeling off seven wins in the team’s final 10 games of the regular season.
If Tannehill proved anything it’s that quarterbacks can revive their career with a second chance, and Mariota certainly qualifies as such. After all, we’ve seen flashes of Mariota being a quality starter in this league, and there’s a good chance he could return to that form in 2020.
In its list of one player from each team who could use a fresh start, ESPN named Mariota as the guy for the Titans, per Turron Davenport.
There were flashes of Mariota’s dynamic playmaking ability last season, but some of his issues, such as holding the ball too long and staring down the pass rush, are signs that he still needs further development. Perhaps going to a new team could help him have a Ryan Tannehill-like renaissance.
As I wrote during the season, Mariota needs to follow the blueprint of Tannehill, which was to target a team that has a vulnerability at quarterback.
Perhaps Mariota could even find a situation in which he has a chance to compete for a job right away (if the Chargers name Tyrod Taylor their starter, Los Angeles should be Mariota’s No. 1 target).
The only difference between the respective searches of Tannehill and Mariota is that the Oregon product is a free agent and can choose where he wants to go, as opposed to Tannehill, who had to be traded because he was still under contract with the Miami Dolphins.
Wherever he ends up, a fresh start will do Marcus Mariota a lot of good. Clearly he doesn’t have a future in Nashville, but what he does have is hope that he can turn things around when given a change of scenery, much like his soon-to-be former teammate did.