The Tennessee Titans drafted dual-threat quarterback Marcus Mariota second overall in the 2015 NFL draft, but although he’s performed well through three preseason games, the team hasn’t seen all the traits it expected.
Nevertheless, according to Jim Wyatt of the team’s official site, Super Bowl-winning coach and ESPN analyst Jon Gruden believes Mariota’s running ability makes him a lethal weapon. Gruden said:
“A lot of people are shocked that he hasn’t taken off and run yet. I think that is when you are going to see the greatness of Marcus Mariota. He’s a double-edged sword, he’s a great competitor, and I like the way they are bringing him along. I just think Mariota and his skill set, the deception that he’ll bring with the zone read and the scrambling ability will be a real tool for him.”
Mariota has only recorded five carries for 17 yards, but the Oregon product has completed 19-of-27 passes for 252 yards and one interception, leading four scoring drives.
Tennessee coach Ken Whisenhunt has tailored the offense around Mariota’s strengths, and the rookie has responded well. He’s played relatively mistake-free football, and the Titans will need Mariota to protect the ball throughout the 2015 campaign because the team isn’t exactly a playoff contender.
Once the regular season begins, though, it’s safe to assume Mariota will start scrambling more often if it’s necessary to keep drives alive with his legs.
Mariota and Tennessee open the year against Jameis Winston, the No. 1 overall pick of the draft, and the double-edged sword will attempt to slice through the Tampa Bay defense en route to his first career NFL win.