Despite a couple of strong years early in his career, it’s hard not to say that Marcus Mariota has been a draft bust. He was the number two overall pick in 2015 and started a lot of games, but was benched in 2019 and completely outperformed by Ryan Tannehill. He now has a chance to rejuvenate his career with the Las Vegas Raiders.
While Mariota has proven to be a capable starter in the past, he’s coming to the Raiders as a backup to Derek Carr. He knows this is the case.
“First and foremost, this is Derek’s team, and I understand that,” Mariota told Hawaii-based KHON-TV on Tuesday. “I understand that going in.”
Many have suggested the Raiders are looking to make a change at quarterback. It’s easy for some to deduce that it’s just a matter of time before Mariota takes over for Carr. However, the ball is in Carr’s court. The team has made it clear that the plan is for him to start. If he loses the job, it’s going to be on him.
Mariota Explains Why He Joined the Team
Based on how he’s played the last few seasons, no team was about to hand Mariota a starting job. He believes the Raiders will give him a chance to get to the next level.
“My priority going into free agency was to be a part of a team that I felt could bring out the best in me,” Mariota said. “Whatever happens, whatever comes of that, I’m ready for. But I do know, to play starting quarterback in the NFL, to be at that spot, is not an easy job to do. And I think when it comes down to it, a strong, stable supportive quarterback room makes that job a whole lot easier, and that’s what we have to do. And I’m going to do my best to support Derek in every possible way that I can; and along with that, I’m just going to try to become the best player that I can be and see where that takes me.”
It’s a good sign that Mariota isn’t trying to stir the pot. The second Carr starts to struggle, people are going to call for him to get benched. It’s good for the Raiders to have a strong backup option because they’ve been really weak behind Carr for years now. Mariota may never play, but he should light a fire under Carr that could bring out the best in him.
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Mariota Is Happy to Be Closer to Home
Mariota gave a lot to the Tennessee Titans while he was there. Unfortunately, it didn’t end how anybody would’ve wanted, but nobody has anything bad to say about him as a leader. The quarterback praised Nashville for how they treated him.
“These last five years have been a blessing, no doubt,” Mariota said. “I think Nashville has treated us very well. But this is a great opportunity for us, and it’s an opportunity to be closer to home and also to be part of a great organization.”
Las Vegas has a very large population of Hawaiian natives and it’s obviously a shorter flight to Hawaii than Nashville is.
“The bonus and the cherry on top of it was being closer to home and being in Vegas,” Mariota said. “And again, I really can’t stress it enough, we’re so excited.”
Considering there are no beaches in Nevada, it’s strange to think that Hawaiians would flock there, but it’s just how it is.