Marcus Mariota is looking good at Titans' OTAs
There's only so much that can be learned from performances at OTAs, but when a rookie quarterback comes in and takes control of the offense right away, it's worth noting.
That's exactly what new Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota has done so far. Many have heaped praise on the No. 2 overall pick early on, with the latest being receivers coach Shawn Jefferson.
"He is deadly accurate...I am just giddy about his future going forward.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 in that huddle and take control," Jefferson said, Jefferson, via Paul Kuharsky of ESPN.
Of course, Tennessee's coaching staff isn't going to be saying negative things publicly about Mariota, but reviews from players, coaches and media have been overwhelmingly positive so far.
The deadly accuracy shouldn't come as much of a surprise for people who watched Mariota at Oregon. In three years with the Ducks, Mariota completed 66.8 percent of his passes, including over 68 percent in two separate seasons. With that kind of accuracy plus superb decision-making, Mariota put up the video game-like TD:INT ratio of 105 to 14 for his career.
Jefferson's last two points are far more important for Mariota's future. As with any quarterback coming out of a spread or shotgun-heavy offense, Mariota faced questions about how he would adapt to an NFL style scheme. Tennessee did say that it would try to mold its offense to help Mariota, but the fact that he's grasping a major scheme change so quickly is still a good sign.
There were also questions about Mariota's leadership ability, as some found him to be rather quiet or "too nice" at Oregon. By all accounts so far, Mariota is already developing a strong rapport with his receivers and other teammates.
Performing at OTAs is a lot different than performing in an actual game, so Mariota still has a lot to learn. Even if Mariota does develop well, the Titans don't have a lot of weapons on offense to help him out, so it might be a couple of years before we see his true skill set.
Still, there's been nothing but good news surrounding a quarterback who had a lot of question marks coming out of college. We should have a chance to see how Mariota and No. 1 overall pick Jameis Winston are developing when the Titans face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 1 of the regular season.
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