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Keeping Up With Marcus Mariota: Week 1, 2018

A look at Marcus Mariota’s Week 1 performance against the Dolphins

NFL: Tennessee Titans at Miami Dolphins Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to “Keeping Up With Marcus Mariota,” where I take a look at Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota’s weekly tape and determine what I saw.

Statistically speaking, Mariota had a rough outing in Week 1 at Miami, completed 9 of 16 passes for 103 yards, zero touchdowns and two interceptions. Is the tape as bad as the stats? Let’s find out.

Now, it’s important to mention that Mariota’s two interceptions both came after he suffered an elbow injury on a handoff. Before that, he wasn’t playing great, but he wasn’t awful either.

I already mentioned this throw in my recent article on Matt LaFleur, but it’s still spectacular. It’s another one of those plays where Mariota throws with his eyes manipulating a defensive back, creating an open window for his receiver in the process.

This pass would’ve done wonders to Mariota’s perception in this game if it were caught by Taiwan Taylor. The placement on this pass is beautiful and puts the corner covering Taylor out of reach to make a play on the pass. Taylor dives for it, but it’s still an accurate throw, and he bobbles it and can’t hang on, forcing the Titans to settle for a field goal on a wasted opportunity.

On the other hand, this throw, on a tight end throwback, was a missed touchdown opportunity that was actually on Mariota. Luke Stocker is completely uncovered, but Mariota underthrows the ball, which means he can only pick up a first down. The Titans would later be stopped from scoring any points on the drive.

This was the play where Mariota injured his elbow. #85 drills him after the handoff, and you can see Mariota calling for a flag, but to no avail.

As you probably guessed, Mariota’s next two throws were his last for the long, delayed day, as they were both interceptions.

Both of these interceptions are accuracy related issues. You can tell Mariota isn’t feeling comfortable with his elbow and he lacks the usual precision we’d expect from him. The coaching staff eventually decided to rest Mariota and put Blaine Gabbert in his place.

Overall, Mariota wasn’t particularly good, but I wouldn’t say he was bad either, at least before his elbow injury. There are two concerns that need to be addressed: 1) Being comfortable inside the new Matt LaFleur scheme, and 2) Healing his elbow. He’s been limited in practice, so it’ll be a problem if Mariota isn’t 100% against the Texans in the home opener on Sunday.