Well, there it is. The last game in Autzen Stadium for the 2014 season and the last time we got to see a chunk of our Ducks out on that field ever again. But what is really pulling at my heartstrings, and I’m sure many other fans, is the thought of that being the last time we would ever see our beloved QB Marcus Mariota play in Autzen.
The rumors have been floating around all over throughout the season about Mariota leaving Oregon to enter the NFL Draft next season and as the season comes closer and closer to an end the talk increases. In an article on Business Insider by Tony Manfred, The No. 1 Prospect In The NFL Draft Is Relentlessly Nice, And It Drives Opponents Crazy, the idea of Mariota being “too nice” is discussed.
We all know this is a rumor that has been passed from ear to ear for awhile now, but really? In one of my first interviews for FishDuck.com I recall an interview with Head Coach Mark Helfrich where he was asked if he believed that Mariota is too nice for the NFL. Helfrich chuckled and responded that that was a false statement.
Despite all the Oregon coaches and players disagreement on this statement, NFL scouts still continue to say things like, “if you punched him in the stomach, he might apologize to you …” And that they’re not sure if he is too meek to lead an NFL team. It was also mentioned that, although he is without a doubt a talented player, he will need time to develop as a pro. But honestly, how many rookie QB’s come out of college to the NFL not needing time?!
I disagree with this comment in that it seems as though it is directed at Mariota as a rookie specifically, whereas it should be a general statement about all rookies coming into the league. It is the opinion of Mariota’s current coaches and teammates that his nice qualities are an asset to his game, rather than a negative aspect of his game.
It is almost looked as a way of taunting the opponents indirectly. Center, Hroniss Grasu said, “They try to rattle him and do a little late shot. I’m getting really upset, because I’m really protective over Marcus and I take it personal. Marcus just pats him on the back and says, ‘Good job’ or ‘keep coming’. The guy just gets even more mad. It’s awesome. When they see it didn’t faze Marcus, it gets them more upset.”
Oh, Marcus, to everyone off the field you’re game seems soft but you really are playing a different game all together. I respect that. Mariota leaving Oregon is a thought that saddens me, but I am confident that whenever he announces his official departure to the NFL, this year or next year, he will be successful.