Mariota perfect in Titans camp
The Tennessee Titans have been looking for a franchise quarterback since losing the late great Steve McNair in 2006. They had an opportunity to grab a franchise changing player with the second pick in this years NFL Draft. After considering the possibility of Zach Mettenberger possible being the guy, and trying to pull off a trade for Philip Rivers, the Titans selected Marcus Mariota with the second overall pick. It’s time to find out if they made the right choice.
So far, it looks like the answer to that question is…yes! Mariota has impressed his teammates early on in camp and even impressed the Titans new defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau, who is throwing everything at the rookie. The legendary former Steelers defensive coordinator LeBeau had this to say about Mariota’s camp so far,
“We are getting ready to play against every quarterback in the league, so he is getting everything. We are going to show him everything that he will see. Our package is extensive and from that standpoint we are showing him everything. I don’t think he is going to go into a game and say, “Jeez, I’ve never seen that before, or something like it.”
Mariota is perfect through 6 days of camp. He is yet to throw an interception. While I am not going to completely overreact to training camp practice numbers, that does tell me he is a great decision maker and his teammates and coaches have had every reason early on to trust this young man. It appears that Mariota has the poise of a natural leader. The fact that he has gone through his first 6 days of training camp, as a rookie, with all the pressure of a franchise’s future on his shoulders, and not thrown an interception, tells me that he has a winners swag. Compare that to Jake Locker who had training camp days just last year, his fourth year in the league, were he threw a big handful of interceptions in just one days session. I like where the Titans are a lot more today, than one year ago.
The Titans finished 2-14 last season on their way to the second overall pick, but for the first time in several years I have a confident feeling about a team that is not expected to do anything. Not only is Mariota looking impressive and worthy of the second overall pick, the addition of Dick LeBeau can’t be overstated as far as I am concerned. Not only is he going to turn around a defense that gave up the third most points in the league last season, his great defensive mind is helping prepare Mariota for life in the NFL as a starting quarterback. He is throwing every scheme he can at Marcus, and the kid is responding in a calm, cool way. When we are four or five games into the season and Mariota has cemented his claim as the number one guy, we may look back and say Dick LeBeau had as much to do with that than anybody.
Despite the addition of Mariota and LeBeau, Peter King of Sports Illustrated has gone on record saying that he considers Tennessee to be the worst team in the NFL. He ranks the Titans 32nd in his preseason rankings. King was in Nashville for Titans practice on Wednesday and while not completely backing off that number 32 ranking, King did say, “You may not be 32nd. Here’s the two things I saw today: Your receivers are big, and you won’t be 32nd with him,’’ as he points to Marcus Mariota while talking to Titans safety Michael Griffin. “He is pretty good. And you guys are good in the secondary, too. If (Brian) Orakpo can rush the passer, and Dick LeBeau. We’ll see…”
I do know this, it is an exciting time to be a Titans fan. Mariota could very well be the next big thing. We like what we are hearing and seeing from him in Titans camp. Now is the time when the work put in will dictate how your season starts. And it could be a very exciting and entertaining start for Mariota and Titans fans. Mariota opens the season in Tampa Bay against the number one overall pick in the draft, Jamies Winston. The Titans will then travel to Cleveland in what could be a showdown between Mariota and Manziel. And in week three the Titans open up the home schedule against Andrew Luck and Indianapolis Colts. It’s very conceivable that the Titans could walk into Nissan Stadium for the first time 2-0. Take that Peter King. This could be interesting in deed.
The Titans open up the pre-season next Friday night, August 14th, in Atlanta.
How do you think the Titans will do this year with Mariota under center? Let us know what you think about the 2015 version of the Tennessee Titans in the comment section below.
Brandon Reid covers the NFL and Tennessee Titans for MyFantasySportsTalk.com, you can follow him on Twitter @New_Breid