Titans' Marcus Mariota on Benching: 'This Isn't Going to End My Career'

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistOctober 16, 2019

DENVER, CO - OCTOBER 13:  Marcus Mariota #8 of the Tennessee Titans stands in the bench area during a game against the Denver Broncos at Empower Field at Mile High on October 13, 2019 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)
Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota vowed Wednesday to continue fighting for opportunities after being benched in favor of Ryan Tannehill for the team's Week 7 game against the Los Angeles Chargers.

"Until the day that I die, I'm going to believe I gave it all I got. No matter what, I can learn and grow from this situation. This isn't going to bring me down. This isn't going to end my career," Mariota told reporters. "I had an opportunity to play but I didn't make the most of it. I am going to learn and grow from it." 

He added: "You have to be ready at any point in time. No matter what I will prepare just as I have and I'll be ready to go."

Tannehill replaced Mariota during Sunday's 16-0 loss to the Denver Broncos.

The No. 2 overall pick in the 2015 NFL draft completed just seven of his 18 throws for 63 yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions before the quarterback change.

Tannehill was 13-of-16 passing for 144 yards with no scores and one pick in relief.

Although Mariota has complied seven touchdowns and two interceptions, his other numbers through six games are concerning. He's averaging less than 200 yards passing per game while completing a career-low 59.1 percent of his throws. He's also been sacked an NFL-high 25 times.

The 25-year-old Hawaii native ranks 29th of 30 qualified quarterbacks in ESPN's Total QBR.

Titans head coach Mike Vrabel said the change is being made with the hope it can provide a "little spark" to the team's 27th-ranked offense.

"I am very confident, after having talked to Marcus and watching him prepare already today that if called upon, at some point and time, we expect him to be ready to go," Vrabel told reporters. "It is not an easy thing for any player. ... But we felt like this was the right thing for the team right now."

Tennessee, which came out firing on all cylinders with a 43-13 blowout victory over the Cleveland Browns in Week 1, has lost four of its last five games. That's dropped the team's playoff chances to eight percent, according to FiveThirtyEight.

The quarterback change doesn't come as a surprise given those circumstances. That said, Tannehill rarely looked like a franchise QB during his six years as the Miami Dolphins' starter, so there's a good chance Mariota will regain control of the Titans' offense before season's end.