By MIKE PATTON | Nashville Voice
Coming into this season, Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota was under the microscope.
The talented quarterback who was taken second overall in the 2015 NFL Draft was expected to take a step forward this season as he had a new offensive coordinator brought in to help him.
Unfortunately, the season did not go as well as Marcus thought it would. Mariota would throw for fewer interceptions than last season and have the highest completion percentage of his career, but his passing touchdown total went down by two.
Couple his declining touchdown passes with the fact he was fighting through injury the entire season. The nightmare of him fighting through injury once again has stirred up Titans fans when it comes to whether to go with Mariota going forward.
As the time nears to whether or not the Titans will pay him a huge extension at the quarterback position, you cannot help to think it could be time to move forward minus Mariota at quarterback.
The Titans missed the playoffs and the offense was one of the worst when it comes to passing the football.
Some of that was due to an injury to tight end Delanie Walker (The talented tight end was injured in the first game and lost for the season), but the injuries weren’t the only.
Another big factor in the Titans’ offensive line. The line, which was lauded as one of the best in the NFL a couple years ago, did not do its job protecting Mariota and that left him running for his life a few times.
With all that surrounded him, it is easy to say he wasn’t the issue, but he does share some of the blame. Even though he did throw fewer interceptions this season, he did also hold on the ball too long as a quarterback.
Mariota has the ability to make things happen with his feet, but he seemed reluctant to do so a lot of the time. And as a result, he took some sacks he should not have taken.
Another reason he does not have more touchdown passes than he does is that he is too careful at times.
Mariota tries his best to value the football, but in doing so, he does not take calculated chances enough. His completion percentage is high but his yardage isn’t as high as it could be only because he would rather not turn the ball over than take that chance.
Mariota’s carefulness is appreciated, but he has to let the ball go to make plays.
Along with Mariota playing it safe a lot of times, he also is always injured. It is commendable he played through some injuries this season and in season’s past, but he, unfortunately, has not been able to fight through the injuries and perform at a high level all the time.
The perfect example is this season with the nerve issue he was dealing with. He was never really the same guy after that injury happened and no fault of his own, he could not really do some of the things he was used to doing throwing the football.
As a result, the Titans offense suffered when it came to becoming balanced.
At this point in his career, there are no assurances Mariota can ever be healthy. And with an offense still trying to find its identity under Mike Vrabel, stability at the quarterback position is needed.
This offseason, expect the Titans to draft a quarterback a little earlier. Time is running out on Mariota and there is no clear answer whether or not he is the franchise quarterback as of yet.
If this is the case and the Titans still feel unsure about Mariota as their guy, then it means they have to consider moving forward without Mariota as their quarterback.