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Calling All Titans Fans: Put Vince Young and Jake Locker Behind You

Much like the Titans should not have tried to find the next McNair, they should not be looking for the anti-Young or Locker.

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

When it comes to the possibility of the Titans drafting Marcus Mariota, there is a lot of smoke. This has led to ramped up debate regarding the idea of drafting him. Regardless of your personal opinion on Mariota, I think it is safe to say that most Titans fans likely view it as more probable that the Titans draft Mariota than they did two or three weeks ago. That being said, when I look through various outlets and see fans’ opinions on who the Titans should take, I still see a relatively strong Anti-Mariota sentiment. It was truly surprising to see, because I thought that many Titans fans were starting to shift, given some recent events. After wondering why the fanbase of such a Quarterback starved franchise seems to be strongly against drafting a potential franchise Quarterback, I saw a similar line of reasoning. The main reasons are ones that I am sure we have all read or heard before—things about schematic fits, shoring up the defense, drafting a Quarterback next year, and more. While some are valid points, I could not get past the one, main reason that is the root of all else—we are scared.

This is not any different than making big decisions that could completely change our personal lives. Fear is natural for something this big. There are so many things that could go wrong here. If the fear of failure isn’t enough here, history makes it that much worse. As a fanbase, we all have been absolutely burned by the team’s past two first round Quarterbacks. After what we have been through for the past 10 years, how could you not have some pause when the Titans are in the same situation that they were in 2006 and 2011? We are all permanently scarred, and will always be having Young and Locker flashbacks.

In so many ways, Zach Mettenberger is the anti-Vince Young or Jake Locker. He is about as traditional as it gets when it comes to his style on the field. It could be a reason why some want to move forward with him; none of us can take another failed, mobile, "project". As an LSU fan, I completely understand the sentiment. After the Jordan Jefferson years, the idea of having a "real" Quarterback had me absolutely enthralled. That being said, it is time to put the past two failures behind us. The Titans took shots on Quarterbacks when they needed them, and it did not go well. It is so easy to point to these two moments as major contributing factors to the downfall of the franchise. However, it is simply the reality of the NFL that teams will miss. Life goes on. In hindsight, the alternatives at the position did not pan out either. However, two moments that are very rarely mentioned are when the Titans passed on Quarterbacks—Aaron Rodgers and Teddy Bridgewater. Hindsight is 20/20 of course, but it goes to show that there are more elements when it comes to the development of a Quarterback starved team than simply missing on draft picks when you take a shot.

The bottom line is that Marcus Mariota is not Jake Locker or Vince Young. Does that mean that he is going to be the next Steve Young? No. But, there are a number of reasons why fans, Ruston Webster, and Ken Whisenhunt should believe that he very well could be a franchise Quarterback. This alone should give him serious consideration. Now is the time to stop subconsciously likening Mariota, or any athletic quarterback for that matter, to the past failures of the franchise. If this continues, the wait for "The Next Luck" will continue for another decade, as we continue to watch Quarterbacks come and go. What happened with Vince Young and Jake Locker happened. Nothing will change that. The only way for them to do anymore possible damage to the franchise is if they work their way into the back of absolutely anyone’s mind when it comes to evaluating current Quarterback prospects, and the future of the franchise.