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Countdown To Titans Training Camp: Mariota's Progress

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With a better supporting cast on tape and a year under his belt, what should we be looking for from Marcus Mariota?

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

The Titans have completed their first off-season under new General Manager, Jon Robinson. While he made some big time moves, and has provided the fanbase with hope, we are all waiting on actual production. This summer, training camp will show whether or not we will actually see it. With not much time left, we will take a look at a different topic each remaining day, until things get started.

While things went very poorly last season, Marcus Mariota was one of the only bright spots. He showed everything that we had hoped and dreamed for. However, the Titans did not give him any help. His offensive line was atrocious, his running backs were horrendous, and the wide receiver play was an embarrassment. These were all contributing factors to the firing of Ken Whisenhunt and Ruston Webster. After they were fired, there was an order from the top that Marcus Mariota had to be protected and helped. With Mike Mularkey and Jon Robinson entering the picturing, we will see if they made the correct moves to make this happen.

From and offensive line standpoint, Taylor Lewan should make significant improvement. Also, going from a merry-go-round at center to a solid veteran in Ben Jones should really help with interior pressure and the run game. If Jack Conklin plays up to his talent level, right tackle will be significantly improved, which in turn should help Chance Warmack. If the protection for Marcus Mariota goes up, he should have more time to sit back in the pocket, process, and make more plays through the air.

From a skill position standpoint, Demarco Murray and Derrick Henry are also huge improvements over last year. Mike Mularkey wants to run the ball downhill, and revolve the offense around that. While he tried to do this at the end of last season, the team did not have the personnel. Now, with a power running game, defenses should be kept honest, which will really help Marcus Mariota, who can contribute to the run game himself.

There has been some complaint about Mike Mularkey and Terry Robiskie's approach, because it is viewed as taking the ball out of Mariota's hands. However,  the  power running approach should only help him. Things from an offensive standpoint are reminiscent of 2013 when Dowell Loggains and the Titans decided to implement a power running style, and simplify things on offense. In turn, Jake Locker had a very good start to the season before his injury. I expect some of the same for Mariota in year two. I think that thanks to this new offense system, he could make the jump from "potential" to "established". We will see things start to unfold in just a matter of days.