“He’s a project … second-best quarterback in the draft … not pro ready!” Such were the cries of many draft analysts in the first quarter of the year. Of course, they were talking about Marcus Mariota. Many so-called “experts” such as Bucky Brooks, had Mariota falling to the late teens before being drafted. Many others saw him as playing second fiddle to Jameis Winston, questioning his ability to learn a pro-style offense or to be a true leader. Despite all the negatives, he was drafted with the No. 2 overall pick and now his coaches and teammates in Tennessee have something to say.
In his article for NFL.com, Chris Wesseling quoted the Titans’ wide receiver coach Shawn Jefferson as saying, “No. 1, it’s his accuracy … No. 2, he’s come in and grasped the offense. And No. 3 is the way the guys respond to him, the way he’s able to go into that huddle and take control.” And stated “… I am just giddy about his future going forward.” Jefferson also called Mariota “deadly accurate,” with veteran wide receiver Harry Douglas agreeing with his assessment. Jefferson then added, “… Douglas recently raved about the “unbelievable accuracy” Mariota showcased in OTAs and minicamp.” Mariota’s college stat line supports the idea that he is “deadly accurate” and has “unbelievable accuracy” because he completed more than 68% of his passes last season.
But the more interesting part to me is how Jefferson spoke about Mariota grasping the playbook and how his new teammates have responded to him. Even with reports coming out that the Titans are, “studying Mariota’s college scheme … the offenses of the Eagles, Dolphins and Bengals to create a system that will best enhance their new quarterback’s unique skill set,” it’s still a big deal that he is picking up the offense so quickly.
This is really important, because one of the top things critics liked to say before the draft was how he would adjust to a “real playbook” with “real plays” — as if Oregon was a Pop Warner team running plays drawn in a coloring book. Oregon fans can now wag the finger, because Mariota has learned the “real playbook” and the Titans coaching staff have tainted the “real playbook” with some of the Ducks “fake plays.”
Moreover, Jefferson praised Mariota’s ability to take control of the huddle and have the players respond to him–a nice metaphorical slap to the face of his doubters. It’s always nice to see reality destroy the negative preconceived notions about players prior to the draft.
Although the praise heaped on Mariota should be no surprise to us who have been watching him every Saturday for the last 3 seasons, it’s great to see it happen so soon and with such magnitude. Thankfully, the pre-season will be upon us leading to the regular season — then we can bask in the glory of Mariota against all odds.
Top photo by Craig Strobeck
Noah is an undergraduate student from just outside of New Orleans, Louisiana. Noah is currently pursuing a communications degree with the goal of becoming a sports journalist. Noah is a die hard Duck fan, mainly because of his obsession with football’s X’s and O’s. In his free time he enjoys watching both pro and college football games,playing and listening to music, and drawing up his own playbooks.
For Football Season: FishDuck Back to Seven Days a Week!
I had to shut down the daily articles on July 20th because I could no longer work the extra 3 to 12 hours per week of certain managerial/editorial duties. (beyond the usual ones with FishDuck)
I’ve had a blast writing without those duties, and now, due to a new agreement with the writers, I can announce that we will have articles seven days a week again. I wish to thank the writers publicly for their graciousness in coming to a solution, as now I still do not have do those extra duties with our agreement, and meanwhile the writers are back having fun creating articles as I am.
Everybody is happy! So below is the new schedule through football season:
Monday: Mr. FishDuck
Tuesday: Darren Perkins
Wednesday: Coach Ken Woody
Thursday: Coach Eric Boles and Alex Heining alternating
Friday: David Marsh
Saturday: Mr. FishDuck (GameDay Baby!)
Sunday: Jordan Ingram
A couple of writers could not join us as they have new projects in their lives, and cannot write for anyone at the moment–but perhaps we will see them back later.
Things rarely work out so well for all parties in agreements, but this time it has and truly….everyone wins!
Our 33 rules at FishDuck can be summarized to this: 1) be polite and respectful, 2) keep it clean, and 3) no reference of any kind to politics. Easy-peasy!
FishDuck members….we got your back. No Trolls Allowed!