Marcus Mariota

Ryan Tannehill has high praise for Marcus Mariota

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USATI

Ryan Tannehill has high praise for Marcus Mariota

Marcus Mariota may no longer be the starter in Tennessee, but he is still making an impact for the Titans. 

Mariota, the former No. 2 overall pick, has failed to live up to lofty expectations in Tennessee. Midway this season, he found himself relegated to the bench as the team gave Ryan Tannehill the keys to the car. 

The story from here didn't play out as many fans expected. 

There were no hard feelings. Rather then be all "woe is me," Mariota supported the move and supported Tannehill. 

In fact, as the Titan's season came to an end in the AFC Championship Game, Showtime camera caught an exchange between the two quarterbacks that truly shows the type of person Mariota is. 

That's right, a visibly frustrated Tannehill was stopped and consoled by Mariota, with Mariota telling him “I am excited for you... it’s the start of something great, brother. I am so excited for you.”

Tannehill replaced Mariota, led the Titans on an improbable playoff run, and is now in Orlando prepping for the Pro Bowl. 

In an interview with the media, he had nothing but high praise for Mariota. 

Marcus is an incredible human being, and I have so much respect and love for him. The way he handled things... it was an incredibly tough situation. He was in Tennessee for five years, and it was his team and where he made his home. The way things went down, I don't think many guys in the world would handle it the way he did. He handled it like a true professional. He was supportive of me from Day One. I know he was hurting, and I tried to be empathetic with that throughout the season and give support to him as well. But he handled it so well.. he was supportive of me, helped me out on game days, in preparation during the week. He was just a consistent guy throughout the year.

That wasn't all. He added, "We are great friends and we will continue to be great friends."

It's moments like this that the world gets to find out what fans in the Northwest already knew -- Marcus Mariota is truly special. 

Marcus Mariota has "no doubts at all" about being a starter next season

Marcus Mariota has "no doubts at all" about being a starter next season

It's weird to think that given the preseason expectations for the Tennessee Titans, losing in the AFC Championship game would constitute a bad season but it was that for quarterback Marcus Mariota. 

The only Heisman winner in Oregon Ducks history was benched following a 2-4 start to the season in favor of former-Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill. Quite a fall from grace for Mariota who Tennessee drafted second overall in the 2015 NFL Draft, and threw, ran and rushed for a touchdown in the 2017 Wild Card round at Kansas City. 

The Titans would go on to earn a wild card playoff berth, ultimately advancing to the AFC Championship, while Mariota held a clipboard.

When asked after the season-ending defeat to the Kansas City Chiefs if he still believes he's a winning, starting quarterback in this league, Mariota reaffirmed full confidence in himself.

I have no doubts at all, no doubts at all. I'm just hopeful and ready for whatever that next opportunity is.

Mariota has shown flashes throughout his professional career, including an impressive sophomore campaign when he threw 26 touchdowns and just nine interceptions with a career-best 7.9 yards-per-attempt until a broken leg ended his season. His junior season saw massive regression as he threw 13 touchdowns to 15 interceptions while playing through a hamstring injury. That regression would continue into his fourth season under first-year head coach Mike Vrabel. 

Before being benched, Mariota has a 29-32 record in 61 games as a starter with 13,207 passing yards, 76 touchdowns, and 44 interceptions. After being benched Mariota was a consummate professional until the end. Head coach Mike Vrabel praised Mariota's professionalism throughout the season. 

It's not entirely Mariota's fault, however; few young quarterbacks would succeed with four offensive coordinators and five different play-callers during their rookie contract. When he hits the open market in March, he can seek out a better opportunity to turn his career around. 

NBC Sports Northwest's Seahawks Insider Joe Fann speculated that five teams could bring in Mariota to compete for the starting job: Dolphins, Chargers (if Rivers leaves), Colts, Bears and Panthers. Additionally, if all of those teams don't want Mariota as a stopgap solution as they groom a rookie or stay put with their current starters than perhaps Mariota could return to the pacific northwest to back up Russell Wilson. 

 

Marcus Mariota has a heart of gold, but we all knew that

Marcus Mariota has a heart of gold, but we all knew that

No surprises here. Marcus Mariota has a heart of gold and is spreading holiday cheer. The former Oregon football star, Heisman Trophy winner and Tennessee Titans quarterback with his Motiv8 Foundation, gifted “Homes for the Holidays” to two single mothers and first-time home owners.

Mariota partnered with other foundations Habitat for Humanity, Habitat Nashville and Warrick Dunn Charities to gift new homes to those in need. 

From the Motiv8website:

Since its launch, the Motiv8 Foundation has awarded hundreds of thousands of dollars towards healthy lifestyle programming, and will continue to fulfill its mission through signature programs, strategic partnerships, and fundraising initiatives.

Habitat for Humanity of Greater Nashville was established in 1985, and since then has built or recycled more than 1,285 homes, 920 locally, and served more than 3, 268 family members including 2,060 children, according to their website.

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If you’re just catching up with Mariota and his status in Tennessee, the Titans benched the former No. 2 overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft and four-year NFL quarterback in week six of this season for Ryan Tannehill.

Will he continue to inspire and give back to those around him in Tennessee next year? Or is Mariota going to take his Motiv8 foundation with him to his next team that may give the quarterback a fighting chance?

Regardless of where Mariota ends up next, it’s hard not to respect and love the guy.

In search of his own legacy, Justin Herbert has one of his biggest nights with Marcus Mariota in the house

In search of his own legacy, Justin Herbert has one of his biggest nights with Marcus Mariota in the house

The No. 6 Oregon Ducks are Pac-12 Conference North Division Champions, contenders for the College Football Playoff, on a nine-game winning streak and have their first 7-0 start to Pac-12 Conference play since 2012.

In a 34-6 victory over Arizona, official King of the North quarterback Justin Herbert demonstrated how he helped lead Oregon (9-1, 7-0 Pac-12) to those massive accomplishments.

“Magical” is how teammate senior linebacker Troy Dye described Herbert’s performance.

“You get the ball in (number)10’s hands and it’s ridiculous, anything can happen,” Dye continued. “He’s a magician with the ball…I’ll tell you what, he makes throws even crazier in practice.”

Herbert’s 333 passing yards marks his most this season and fourth most in his Oregon career. He became just the second player in Oregon history to surpass 10,000 total career yards and 100 total career touchdowns, sharing the milestone with former Oregon quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota.  

Witnessing from the sideline donning an Oregon-clad baseball hat pulled down, was Mariota. Despite his efforts to remain incognito, the camera found him, which brought 54,219 Ducks fans to their feet in a standing ovation. He took his hat off and bowed to the crowd in appreciation.

“I can always tell when he’s in town because it’s the loudest the crowd ever gets,” Oregon Coach Mario Cristobal said of Mariota. “There is nothing like being a player and seeing not only all the greats, former Oregon Ducks coming back and being around the program…I love it, will continue to invite them and want to see it happen much more.”

Cristobal stressed the top priority to bring the “Men of Oregon” back to strengthen the Duck legacy and “Oregon family.” He continued to share that when he was a player at Miami, meeting alumni was one of his favorite aspects of the game. Crisobal emphasized that it brings a perspective that the current Ducks are “borrowing the jerseys” and apart of something bigger.

The attention shifted back to the other sneaky-quick quarterback with an elite arm.

Herbert’s show started right away. On the second play of the game, he launched a 73-yard touchdown pass to Johnny Johnson III, the longest pass play of his season. The highlights continued with a reverse flea flicker 53-yard touchdown toss to an extended Juwan Johnson, worthy of a SportsCenter Top 10 nod. Herbert whipped his third touchdown with a back-shoulder bullet to Spencer Webb for 24 yards. Herbert’s fourth touchdown went to Travis Dye on a perfectly-timed 33-yard screen pass, extending Oregon’s comfortable lead before turning the reins over to back-up quarterback Tyler Shough.

Picking the best moment would be challenging. Good thing it’s not necessary. What is mandatory, however, is keeping the offensive momentum as the Ducks finish their two remaining Pac-12 games and beyond. Arizona’s defense is the worst in the conference and looming is a title game against the stout No. 7 Utah Utes.

It'll be the first time Oregon competes for the conference title since 2014 during Mariota's final season. When Mariota is in town, his legacy is loud enough to hurt an eardrum. Now, it’s Herbert’s opportunity to establish his own.

A Happy Birthday letter to Marcus Mariota

A Happy Birthday letter to Marcus Mariota

Dear Marcus,

First of all, happy birthday!

We all know you don’t like being the center of attention and you always give credit to others, but take this day for yourself. Do the things that make you happy. 

Reminisce on the good old days at Oregon, like that 318 total passing yards and three touchdown performance vs. Michigan State in 2014 or leading the Ducks to a 59-20 win over Florida State in the Rose Bowl and then on to the National Championship. We know the Ducks weren’t able to hoist that BCS Trophy in the air over Ohio State, but we are still glad you ended your career holding up the Heisman Trophy. 

Come see it soon! It’s still in the Hatfield-Dowlin complex here in Eugene.

Also, how could we forget that 71-yard touchdown run vs. Virginia (dang you’re fast) or when you flipped over that Wyoming defender into the end zone during non-conference play?!?! What were you thinking?!?! But it just showed how much passion and effort you have for the game.

Times are tough over there in Tennessee. We hope you’re doing okay. Hopefully that organization can pull itself together, but if it doesn’t, we hope a team sees you for who you can truly be and who we all know you are. 

Happy birthday, Marcus!

Write back soon.

Mahalo!

What if… we re-drafted the 2015 NFL Draft and Marcus Mariota goes No. 1 overall to Tampa Bay?

What if… we re-drafted the 2015 NFL Draft and Marcus Mariota goes No. 1 overall to Tampa Bay?

It’s the 2015 NFL Draft. Oregon Ducks quarterback Marcus Mariota is coming off a Heisman Trophy winning campaign after taking the Ducks to the national championship. The time is now April when the next step in his illustrious football career is about to begin.

“With the second pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, the Tennessee Titans select Marcus Mariota, quarterback from Oregon.”

Cheers and applause ring in as the Hawaii native’s dreams of becoming an NFL quarterback have just come true. He puts on the navy blue hat and shakes the commissioner’s hand just mere minutes after the Tampa Bay Buccaneers selected Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston as the No. 1 overall pick.

Fast forward, and Mariota is in his fifth year with the Titans. He has had only the same offensive coordinator once in back-to-back seasons (Terry Robiskie in 2016 and 2017), an unstable offensive line and now has been benched ahead of Sunday’s matchup vs. the Los Angeles Chargers in favor of Ryan Tannehill.

So let’s play the “what if” game for a moment: What if we re-drafted the 2015 NFL Draft and Mariota was selected No. 1 overall by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Let’s first talk about coaching consistency. In 2015, the Bucs head coach was Lovie Smith with offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter. That season, Tampa Bay finished with a 6-10 record and last in the NFC South division. The following year, Koetter was appointed to head coach: an offensive mind that would have been paired with Mariota at the helm. It was only until this current 2019 season that the Bucs hired new head coach Bruce Arians and new offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich. 

In 2015, Jameis Winston threw for over 4,000 yards and averaged 252.6 per game while Mariota threw for 2,818 yards. Winston was sacked 27 times while Mariota was sacked 38 times. Mariota did have the upper hand when it came to pass completion: Mariota 62.2% and Winston at 58.3%.

That same season, Bucs running back Doug Martin also ran for 1,402 total yards, good for second in the league. So the run game was very much present as well.

So just imagine what that offense would have looked like with a more accurate quarterback in Mariota combined with the offensive mindset from the head coach? Sure, the Bucs are in the same division as Drew Brees and Cam Newton (old school Cam Newton, not today’s Cam Newton), but that Bucs offense would have looked very different.

The Bucs finished 9-7 in 2016 (Winston’s second season). 

What’s done is done. Mariota has had an interesting time in Tennessee to say the least and his time in Nashville may have run its course. For better or for worse, only time will tell if Mariota is seen in a new uniform next season as he will become an unrestricted free agent in 2020.

Marcus Mariota responds to benching in the most Mariota way possible

Marcus Mariota responds to benching in the most Mariota way possible

The Tennessee Titans (2-4) have announced a change to their roster ahead of Sunday’s matchup vs. the Los Angeles Chargers.

The former No. 2 overall draft pick in the 2015 NFL Draft and Heisman Trophy winner quarterback Marcus Mariota has spent the previous five seasons in Nashville hoping to be the answer that would turn that franchise around.

That came and went as of 21 hours ago. Mariota has been benched in favor of Ryan Tannehill.

On Wednesday, Mariota addressed the media following the announcement of his benching:

Typical Mariota. Nothing but class and respect.

The Titans organization hasn’t done a great job in aiding Mariota into the quarterback Oregon Ducks fans know him to be. A weak offensive line accompanied by a coaching carousel will do that to a young quarterback. 

Now, the rumors of the Mariota era coming to an end in Nashville are pouring in while the hashtag #FreeMarcus has started on social media. Our Oregon Insider Bri Amaranthus got the scoop from fans:

[RELATED]: #FreeMarcus to the Patriots? Ducks fans react to Mariota era ending in Tennessee

[RELATED]: Justin Herbert to Tennessee in NFL Draft isn’t out of the question

Has Mariota’s last time starting in Tennessee come to an end? He will become an unrestricted free agent in 2020...

Justin Herbert to Tennessee in NFL Draft isn't out of the question

Justin Herbert to Tennessee in NFL Draft isn't out of the question

Speculation is oozing that the Tennessee Titans will look to secure a top quarterback in the 2020 NFL Draft. Some mock drafts have the Titans selecting another passer from Oregon football: Justin Herbert as the replacement for Marcus Mariota in Nashville. 

The 2-4 Tennessee Titans have sent Mariota to the bench in favor of Ryan Tannehill. It’s a could-be sad ending to a Nashville story that began with much promise. Drafted No. 2 overall in 2015, Mariota brought high hopes to the Titans, becoming the face of the franchise in his humble, nice and unassuming way.

On the fifth and final year of his rookie contract, Mariota will be an unrestricted free agent come the end of the season and likely headed elsewhere for 2020 to hopefully reach his full NFL potential. The Titans look to also move on to find a new answer at quarterback.

In the preseason, USA Today had Herbert slotted to Tennessee in the first round. This week, The Draft Wire released their 2020 NFL Mock Draft and also predicted the Titans to select Herbert in the first round. CBS Sports’ Mock Draft forecasts the Titans picking Herbert with the No. 9 overall selection.

Important to note, of the many NFL scouts present in Eugene for Oregon’s most recent win over Colorado, two Titans scouts were present. Herbert, the 6-foot-6, 235-pound passer, is highly regarded as a projected top-10 2020 NFL Draft pick.

It’s too early for mock drafts, considering a lot can transpire between now and April with Herbert and with the Titans franchise. These scenarios assume that Tennessee misses the playoffs by a large margin with one of the worst records in the NFL.

But depending on draft position, another Oregon quarterback to Tennessee is not out of the question.

Pro Ducks: How did they do in NFL Week 6?

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USATI

Pro Ducks: How did they do in NFL Week 6?

Another NFL Sunday is in the books and with it, another chance for the former Oregon Ducks in the NFL to take center stage.

Here is how our Pro Ducks did:

Royce Freeman, Broncos: 

Royce Freeman had another solid outing to help the Broncos pick up their second win of the season, as he continues to be a two-headed monster in the Denver backfield with Phillip Lindsay. Freeman rushed the ball 11 times for 34 yards and caught five passes for 42 yards. 

Pharaoh Brown/Terrance Mitchell, Cleveland Browns:

The Browns may have lost to the Seahawks, but Terrance Mitchell did everything he could to make things come out the other way. Mitchell had six tackles, five solo. On the other side of the ball, tight end Pharaoh Brown was targeted just once, but hauled it in for a nine-yard gain.

Kenjon Barner, Atlanta Falcons:

Barner continues to be one of the more reliable returners in the NFL. He hasn't been used much on offense this season but on special teams, he's at home. Barner had three punt returns for 17 yards and one kick return for 24 yards. He didn't break one this weekend, but he is always a threat. 

Arik Armstead/DeForest Buckner, San Francisco 49ers:

Armstead and Buckner have been huge for the 49ers. San Francisco has surprised the entire NFL by going 5-0 to start the season, and a big part of that success is thanks to the defense. Armstead and Buckner are the anchors of the d-line, and they showed us why on Sunday. Buckner had four tackles, two solo, and one tackle for loss. While Armstead had six tackles, three solo, a half-sack, and one giant fumble recovery. 

De'Anthony Thomas, Kansas City Chiefs:

The Chiefs were upset by the Texans Sunday, and Thomas never really got it going. He had just one rush for four yards and was targeted in the passing game once but didn't register a catch. However, he did contribute three kick returns for 64 yards

Troy Hill, LA Rams:

The Rams fell victim to the undefeated 49ers, but Hill still had a solid game on defense. He had five tackles, four solo, and one pass deflection. 

Kiko Alonso, New Orleans Saints:

No one gave the Saints a chance after Drew Brees went down with an injury earlier this year. But in the four weeks since all they have done is go 4-0. In that time span, the defense has allowed an average of 16.75 points per game. On Sunday, the defense held Jacksonville to just six points, while Kiko Alonso had three tackles, two solo. 

Marcus Mariota, Tennessee Titans:

Mariota had a rough afternoon Sunday going 7 of 18 passing for 63 yards, and two interceptions. He was also sacked three times. He watched much of the game from the sideline after he was pulled for backup quarterback Ryan Tannehill. The biggest question for Mariota is whether or not he will be the Titans starting quarterback come next week... 

  


 

NFL Week 2: A look at the Ducks around the league

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USA Today

NFL Week 2: A look at the Ducks around the league

It was another fun Sunday of football in Week 2 of the NFL, and just like last week the Ducks represented well. Let's take a look around the league and see how the Pro Ducks did. 

Marcus Mariota - Titans: Mariota had another decent game on Sunday, albeit in a losing effort. He was 19 of 28 passing, for 154 yards and a touchdown. He also carried the ball five times for 32 yards.

Royce Freeman - Broncos: The Broncos are off to an 0-2 start to the season, but Royce Freeman has been playing well. Despite sharing carries with Phillip Lindsay, Freeman ran for 54 yards on 11 carries, and hauled in five passes for 48 yards. 

De'Anthony Thomas - Chiefs: Thomas only totaled one reception for six yards, but he saw most of his action in the return game. He had one kick return for 19 yards, and five punt returns for 28 yards.

Patrick Chung - Patriots: Chung only had three tackles, one for loss, but was still a key part of the Patriots defense holding the Dolphins scoreless in a 43-0 win.

Arik Armstead and DeForest Buckner - 49ers: The two former Ducks each recorded a sack in the 49ers 41-17 victory over the Bengals. 

Kiko Alonso - Saints: Alonso record just a single tackle in the Saints 27-9 loss to the Rams. 

Kenjon Barner - Falcons: Barner didn't factor into the Falcons offensive game, but he saw action in the return game.  He had three punt returns for 12 yards.