Despite the narrative that the Las Vegas Raiders have big plans for Marcus Mariota, the team has made it clear that he was brought in to be a backup. Las Vegas like Derek Carr enough to give him the starting gig for at least one more year. Unless he absolutely flops this year or gets injured, Mariota probably won’t be seeing the field much.
That said, it’s no secret that both Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock were massive fans of Mariota when he was heading into the draft. He has had a very uneven career so far and if he spends the rest of his years as a backup, there’s no doubt he’s one of the bigger draft busts of the 2010s. It was a smart move for him to go the Raiders because Gruden likes to try and rehabilitate quarterbacks. Also, it appears Mariota was already showing improvement before the end of last season.
Logan Ryan Says Mariota Was ‘Killing’ Titans Defense
When the Tennessee Titans benched Mariota in favor of Ryan Tannehill, their season completely turned around and made it all the way to the AFC Championship game. It was clear after that run that Mariota’s time in Tennessee was over. However, former Titans cornerback Logan Ryan gave some really interesting insight into how the quarterback reacted to getting benched.
“He started killing us every single week,” Ryan told “The Double Coverage” podcast. “Like, he started ripping us in practice. Marcus Mariota was the practice quarterback and he was destroying us. And it made us better.”
Now, the Titans statistically had a worse pass defense than the Raiders did last season, so the fact the Mariota was tearing it up doesn’t necessarily mean he’s turned a new leaf. That said, it does show the kind of character he brings the team. Despite getting benched, he still played hard. That kind of determination is exactly what Carr needs behind him this season.
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Sometimes a Change of Scenery Is Needed
Just because Mariota’s last few years in Tennessee were not good doesn’t mean his talent disappeared. Tannehill is a perfect example of how a change of scenery can revamp an NFL career. Mariota could easily be one and done with the Raiders and never play a game, but he could also turn out to be the quarterback of the future just like Tannehill appears to be with the Titans.
Carr gets a lot of unnecessary criticism and he’s certainly a better quarterback than he’s given credit for. Mariota isn’t going to have an easy time trying to take his job and there’s a strong chance he never will. However, if Carr is underwhelming this season, the Raiders will have a very interesting decision on their hands at some point. On the surface, it’s hard not to see the Mariota-Rich Gannon comparison. If Gruden feels like he found the second coming of Gannon, Carr will be in a lot of trouble.