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Mike Vrabel reiterates Ryan Tannehill is the backup

Marcus Mariota has failed to live up to the hype as the No. 2 pick, but a big 2019 season could help the Titans realize he's the franchise quarterback they need.

Since Ryan Tannehill arrived in Tennessee, Mike Vrabel repeatedly has had to answer questions about Marcus Mariota’s hold on the starting job. The Titans coach has never wavered.

But the questions aren’t going away.

Vrabel again had to address the topic this week during a conference call for the American Century Championship celebrity golf tournament. He again gave Mariota a vote of confidence.

Vrabel said Tannehill’s job is to make Mariota better.

“His job as a backup -- everybody’s job as a backup -- is to push the guy in front of him,” Vrabel said, via Alex Butler of the United Press International. “To compete and try to make yourself better and try to make the team better and see how everybody responds.”

Mariota first has to stay healthy and then has to prove he’s the long-term answer for the Titans. Tennessee is paying Mariota $20.9 million on his fifth-year option, making it a prove-it season for the second overall choice in 2015.

Mariota, 25, is 27-28 as the starter and has never made the Pro Bowl.

Tannehill, 30, went 42-46 in seven seasons in Miami and never made the Pro Bowl.