Honestly, this is the last thing I really want to talk about following that sweet, sweet Titans victory over the Chiefs yesterday, but former Browns GM Michael Lombardi made some comments on his podcast The GM Shuffle that were too interesting to ignore. On his latest episode that was just released today, Lombardi began talking about the Titans win over the Chiefs around the 5:50 mark and then dropped this familiar sounding nugget about Marcus Mariota and Ryan Tannehill right around the 8:30 mark.
“I was told this summer that the coaches really wanted to play Tannehill, but the front office was so endeared that they had to give this Mariota one more look.”
This more or less echoes what Benjamin Allbright said about the Titans QB situation back during preseason. It’s up to you how much of this you want to believe, but my guess is that there is at least some truth to these reports.
It makes sense from both sides too. The coaching staff is looking to start the best guy and we can all have our opinions about who the best guy is, but based on the results on the field this year it would appear that the idea of the coaches preferring Tannehill is at least conceivable, if not likely.
The front office who exercised Mariota’s $20.9M fifth year option the offseason before last wanting to give the former second overall pick one last look with a clean bill of health makes sense too. It’s not like we never saw Mariota play well. Jon Robinson, like most of us, probably wondered exactly how much his struggles were him versus injuries, supporting cast, coaching, and all the other context surrounding him.
Let’s assume for a second that this is true... does that change your perception of the Titans coaching staff ten games into year two of the Mike Vrabel Era? Obviously, starting Tannehill isn’t going to make Vrabel’s in game decision making better, but if the coaches wanted him from the start, isn’t that 2-4 hole that they opened the season with at least partially — if not mostly — on the front office if they forced a quarterback on them?
I’d love to know how much of this is true — we likely never will — and how big a role Amy Adams-Strunk may have played in the insistence on Mariota, if she played a role at all. It’s one of the more interesting subplots of what has been a very interesting season to this point.