Mike Sando of ESPN ranked all 32 NFL starting quarterbacks by tier for an In$ider piece on ESPN yesterday. Here is how Sando defined his tiers:
Tier 1: Can carry his team each week. Team wins because of him.
Tier 2: Can carry team sometimes but not as consistently.
Tier 3: Legit starter but needs heavy run game/defense to win.
Tier 4: Might not want this guy starting all 16 games.
Tier 5: Do not think this guy should be starting.Sando placed Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota in tier 3 along with Derek Carr, Jameis Winston, Alex Smith, Kirk Cousins, Jay Cutler, Blake Bortles, Teddy Bridgewater, Ryan Tannehill, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Tyrod Taylor, Brock Osweiler, and Sam Bradford. Specifically, Marota was ranked 20th between Smith and Cousins.
I don't have a problem with Mariota being in that tier for now. The Titans have done their best to bolster the talent around him, and Mike Mularkey has made no secret of the fact that he wants this offense to lean heavily on the run game. This offense is going to look like the offenses Mularkey had in Atlanta from 2008-2011. Michael Turner averaged just over 20 carries per game in the games he played in for those 4 seasons. Those 20 carries will be split somehow between DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry for this group.
Matt Ryan averaged almost 230 yards passing in the games he played in during that time period...and that includes his rookie season. That is the ceiling for this offense, and if they get there, the Titans will be a team to be reckoned with.