What to make of Marcus Mariota’s debut

Marcus Mariota hadn't thrown an interception all through Titans camp, but he threw one on his third pass of his preseason debut.

| 2 years ago
(AP Photo/David Goldman)

(AP Photo/David Goldman)

What to make of Marcus Mariota’s debut

We have now had our first glimpse of one of the top two quarterbacks drafted this season with Marcus Mariota making his debut for the Tennessee Titans.

Mariota’s camp was beginning to develop something of a fabled quality to it as he had famously yet to throw an interception heading into this game. That run came skidding to an end abruptly after just three pass attempts against Atlanta as he threw an interception on 2nd and 21.

The play was a simple running back screen designed to get back some yardage after a big sack on first down, but instead it snapped Mariota’s perfect turnover streak.


Screens are supposed to be safe plays, but between the running back sitting down in the hole, Mariota trying to lead him on his original path, and linebacker Justin Durant reading the play well, it ended up being a simple toss straight to the waiting defender.

Mariota’s play even in college was all about avoiding interceptions. He threw 444 pass attempts a year ago at Oregon and just four of them were intercepted, compared to 42 touchdowns.

He also fumbled the ball in this game, perhaps a bigger concern for a quarterback that will spend significant time running with the ball in hand as he adjusts to the game at this level, but he also showed some nice passes and did not look uncomfortable in the pocket in an NFL offense.

Overall, it may be for the best that his streak has finally been broken and the team can simply focus on his development.

| Senior Analyst

Sam is a Senior Analyst at Pro Football Focus, as well as a contributor to ESPN and NBCSports.

  • enai D

    Streak? What streak? This was the first preseason game. Its not a “streak” if it happened in practice.

  • Sam Doohan

    I’m glad that he’s seeing early on that NFL defenses can turn just about any play into an INT just by reading the play. His interception rate in college was just amazing but he was never going to keep that up in the NFL and it’s a big deal for him to learn early on how to recover from turn overs and not to become too timid.

  • Patrick Steckman

    A lot of bad things happened on this play that can be seen. For example, what the hell were Levitre and Schwenke doing? They need to get off their blocks earlier and keep that LB from being in that spot. Also, what the hell was Sankey doing, he just stops on the play. You cannot just stop on a screen pass, the whole point is to keep running towards the sideline, not stop and sit in a hole that he is not suppose to be in.

    Even further more, Mariota looked at Sankey and tossed it to where Sankey should have gone, Sankey needs to snap his head around earlier on that play and let Mariota know where he is going. Good play on the LB, who I think would have stuck Sankey regardless with a nice hit, but that was just a horrible play by the interior OL and Sankey. I see why the team has started to rotate guys along the OL and why Cobb should get more first team snaps.