Titans QB Marcus Mariota Says 'Let It Ride' Entering Final Year of Contract

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistMay 22, 2019

Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota throws during an organized team activity at the Titans' NFL football training facility Tuesday, May 21, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
Mark Humphrey/Associated Press

Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota is entering the final season of his rookie contract, but he doesn't seem too bothered by not having an extension in place.

His mentality?

"Let it ride," Mariota told reporters Tuesday, per the Associated Press. "I mean, no matter what still I get to come out here. I get to play a game that I love, and I'm going to make the most of it."

Mariota, 25, has missed eight games in his first four seasons and has battled through injuries during his career. In 2018, he threw for 2,528 yards, 11 touchdowns and eight interceptions in 14 games, completing 68.9 percent of his passes. He also rushed for 357 yards and two touchdowns.

He earned a grade of 76.8 from Pro Football Focus, 18th among quarterbacks.

Jim Wyatt @jwyattsports

.@Titans QB Marcus Mariota during Tuesday’s OTA https://t.co/TXboJvP4VI

Injuries and inconsistent play have plagued Mariota's career, which is likely the reason he's heading into the final season of his rookie deal without an extension. But he's also had three head coaches and now four offensive coordinators in his short career, a revolving door of football philosophies and schemes that likely hasn't aided his progression. 

Mike Vrabel will return as head coach, but last season's offensive coordinator, Matt LaFleur, is now the head coach of the Green Bay Packers. Former tight ends coach Arthur Smith is stepping into the coordinator role.

Tennessee's run-heavy philosophy means Mariota isn't asked to carry the offense. But he was a disappointment last season, with career lows in yards and touchdowns. If Mariota doesn't show significant improvement in 2019—or if he can't stay healthy—the Titans may go in a different direction at quarterback. 

Tennessee brought in Ryan Tannehill as a backup this offseason, though Vrabel has maintained that Mariota will be the starter.

Jim Wyatt @jwyattsports

Two strong comments from HC Mike Vrabel on @Titans QB Marcus Mariota after today's OTA: On his commitment/character: "I love him as a person, and I love him as a player." On if Ryan Tannehill's presence pushes Mariota: "His job is not in jeopardy." https://t.co/gRYkCLcsFv

How much longer that's true remains to be seen. Mariota was the No. 2 overall pick in the 2015 draft, with the expectation that he would become the team's franchise quarterback. The 2019 season may be his last chance to prove he's capable of becoming one. 

But for the time being, Mariota isn't worried about what anyone else has to say.

"Other people's opinions don't matter to me," he said. "I just got to be the best I can be for this team."


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