There has been a lot of talk this week about Marcus Mariota playing Lamar Jackson at practice this week. It is a little bit funny to me that there has been so much talk about it, but hey, that is what happens when you have the former #2 overall pick and Heisman winner as a back-up quarterback. Mariota, of course, is saying all of the right things about running the scout team (from John Glennon):
“I’m just trying to give the guys the best look possible, that’s the most important thing. That’s kind of my role. Whatever they need, whatever the little things we can see from the tape, I’ll do my best to imitate that.”
That begs the question; How much will this actually help the Titans prepare for facing Jackson on Saturday night?
My guess is that Mariota is about as helpful as anyone possibly could be for preparing a team to face Jackson. Marcus is really good when it comes to a read option type offense. He did a lot of that at Oregon and quite a bit with the Titans. He will be able to give them very similar looks to what the Ravens will do on Saturday.
With all of that being said, it is going to be impossible for anyone to really simulate Lamar Jackson. You would need someone with sub-4.4 speed that really understands how to play quarterback in that offense to really get the defense ready. (Hey, maybe they should have brought Colin Kaepernick in this week....I kid, I kid)
So ultimately it is pretty helpful to have Marcus running the scout team this week, but stopping Jackson on Saturday is going to come down to guys understanding what he is trying to do based on film study and playing their assignments. It might be more helpful that Dean Pees has experience against Greg Roman’s offense with Kaepernick running it back in Super Bowl XLVII. Turron Davenport broke it down nicely here:
Dean Pees faced Greg Roman in the Super Bowl a few yrs back. Here’s one way they defended the zone read back then. The rematch is coming this weekend in #Titans #Ravens. pic.twitter.com/W8MwvFrrdm— TURRON DAVENPORT (@TDavenport_NFL) January 6, 2020
How confident are you that the Titans can pull this one out? I go back and forth, but I think they really have a shot. As for the direction of the team, I think we are all the most confident we have been all season long.
Peaking at the right time!