Since the benching of Marcus Mariota in last Sunday’s game against the woeful Denver Broncos its felt inevitable, and now it’s official. The Titans Twitter account posted yesterday that a decision would be made about the status of Mariota as a starter. Well, the decision has been made.
The #Titans are making a QB change. Ryan Tannehill has been informed he’ll get the start Sunday against the #Chargers, sources tell me and @TomPelissero. Former No. 2 overall pick Marcus Mariota goes to the bench.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) October 16, 2019
The decision is unsurprising as Ryan Tannehill performed marginally better against the Broncos in comparison to Mariota. Still, the Titans were not without fault in this decision. The offensive staff is repugnant and not of this century.
It could be the final start that Marcus Mariota makes for the Titans barring injury. The 2019 season that began with so much promise has yet again been stopped by the offense lacking any semblance of consistency. It could be time for the team begin its search for a new franchise quarterback if Mariota is effectively finished in Nashville. There are rare times that a benching works out for the player being benched. Ryan Tannehill isn’t the bastion of health nor consistency either so it’s entirely plausible to see Mariota don the Titans blue once more this season in a starting capacity.
While I won’t write a retrospective of his career yet in the two toned blue, it seems like the end of the road for him in Tennessee. Injuries and poor coaching have robbed him of a successful career to date. Maybe the time off will do him some good as he looked completely disoriented and displayed a lack of arm strength dating back to last season due to an elbow nerve issue. The arm strength was just adequate for the pro level to begin with, the elbow injury sapped it further. The broken leg he suffered a couple of years ago against the Jaguars seemingly left him on a slippery slope of fragility thereafter. There were some issues with pocket awareness as Mike Herndon of Music City Miracles has pointed out on a weekly basis.
Perhaps during this time off Mariota will reignite the fire and love he once had for the game and go onto a career as a serviceable backup in the league. There are far worse options for teams out there.
While the Titans likely won’t garner any sympathy from the Oregon Ducks faithful for its utter failure to develop a coherent system around Mariota, he needed to work on his flaws to elevate the team like other “franchise quarterbacks” are able to do. In the game of football, it is said that the injury rate is 100%. The Titans fanbase once thought that Mariota could be on a Matt Stafford track with horrific injuries but alas, this wasn’t the case.
The one trait that no sane person can deny is his character and work ethic. Teammates to a fault will go to battle for him every day of the week that ends in a y. Sometimes, these things just don’t work out for one reason or another.
We will always have his legendary Ducks career to remember fondly as the years go by. May Marcus find an inner peace and competitive drive to be great once again this year and in the future.
The Titans face off against the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday at home.