Despite being Derek Carr’s backup with the Las Vegas Raiders, former Oregon Duck and Tennessee Titan Marcus Mariota have been keeping tabs on possible starting jobs around the league.
When the Indianapolis Colts lost their starting QB in newly acquired Carson Wentz for about 5-12 weeks due to a foot injury, Mariota’s name quickly surfaced. The Colts are expected to give it a week or two to have a better idea if Wentz will be back for Week 1 or will miss a portion of the 2021 season.
If Wentz is out indefinitely and none of their backup QB’s in Jacob Eason, Sam Ehlinger and Brett Hundley impress during the preseason, then maybe, just maybe, they look to acquire Mariota.
"Absolutely," he said when asked if he monitors other QB situations, via the Las Vegas Journal-Review. "It is my goal (to be a starter), so I do keep tabs on what's going on. For us as players, it's kind of important to see what the landscape is. That being said, I enjoy this team. It's a great organization to play for."
The last time Mariota was a starter was during the 2019 season, which he was supplanted midway through by Ryan Tannehill.
In his first season with the Raiders a season ago, Mariota spent a bulk of it on the sidelines rehabbing a pectoral injury.
Now, barring a setback, he’ll be part of the Raider’s offense. Their starting left guard Richie Incognito had suggested to reporters the team use Mariota near the end zone.
The suggestion was heard with head coach Jon Gruden planning to implement plays for him.
“Last year was hard because he was hurt all the time,” Gruden said of Mariota, who spent the first six weeks of the season on injured reserve with a pectoral issue, after reporting to training camp in 2020 recovering from ankle and shoulder injuries. “This complex thing we’re trying to pull off here … we’re not going to call exactly the same plays when Marcus is in the game than when Derek is in the game. You wouldn’t either. That’s why we have a very vast playbook. I think for Marcus to be great, he has to run plays that he’s good at and that he likes.”
Mariota’s specialty was within the red zone due to his speed and accuracy. Given how poorly the Raiders were a season ago there, his presence in such situations gives them an extra presence to hopefully convert.