If you have been following the Tennessee Titans training camp recently, every single day you might have heard reporters saying, ‘End of another practice session and Marcus Mariota still hasn’t thrown an interception’ or something along those lines.
Ok, it’s just training camp, and not a game against the Seattle Seahawks defense, one of the toughest defenses in the league. His first test will come later tonight against the Atlanta Falcons, and his first true real test will be in the season opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
However, they might be onto something. More in fact, what kind of player Mariota could become. He could be one of the most solid quarterbacks the Titans franchise has ever had since legendary Steve McNair was under center.
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Many reporters have been watching the Titans camp closely, as they drafted Mariota as the second overall pick in the draft earlier this year, so it’s important for Titans fans to know what their team is investing into. By the sounds of things, it’s an excellent quarterback.
The Next Steve McNair
NFL Media columnist Adam Schein on The Schein Nine, his camp highlights report about the Titans, made the comparison. He said: “The Titans rookie has been basically flawless in his first training camp, admirably protecting the football while dazzling with his knowledge of the playbook and incredible skill.
“I never quite grasped the criticism of Mariota during the pre-draft process. He's smart, he's gifted and he's flat-out electric. After years of mind-numbing blandness, Titans fans have a QB who provides sizzle and plenty of hope for the future.
“I think Mariota is the franchise quarterback this team has been looking for since the end of Steve McNair's tenure. With Mariota and Ken Whisenhunt leading the charge, Tennessee will be solid going forward.”
That’s a great comparison for Mariota, comparing him to an NFL MVP and three-time Pro Bowler. The quarterback also lead the Titans to the Super Bowl in the 1999 season, only to lose in one of the most memorable Super Bowls of all-time. The Longest Yard game.
The game was decided on the final play. With six seconds left on the clock, McNair threw the ball at the 10-yard line to wide receiver Kevin Dyson, who was tackled by Rams linebacker Mike Jones one yard short of the goal line preventing a potential touchdown that would tie the game. This play went into NFL lore, being referred to as The Tackle.
Of course, McNair was also a first round pick, so the accolades he achieved during his time in the NFL was expected, but it’s a lot to live up to. If Mariota can live up to this comparison, the Titans might just have another franchise quarterback on their hands.