Tennessee Titans’ head coach, Mike Vrabel stated yesterday that his starting quarterback Marcus Mariota came back bigger and stronger since the last season ended.
Vrabel, 43, has been in charge in Nashville since January 2018. The Titans missed the playoffs in his first year as a head coach. The loss against the Indianapolis Colts in the last week of the regular part of the season ruined everything. Despite finishing with 9 wins and 7 losses, that only secured them the 3rd position in AFC South.
The franchise reached the postseason in 2017 with the same record, making a huge sensation by eliminating the Kansas City Chiefs in the Wild Card round, before losing against the Patriots. That was the only time the Titans entered playoffs in the last ten seasons.
Vrabel was brought to replace Mike Mularkey and to establish the foundations for the future of this team.
One of the cornerstones of all plans should be Marcus Mariota, a guy who divided the public. Some are saying that he is incredible potential; many are claiming a Super Bowl material. The others are seeing him as a bust.
— Titan Sized (@Titan_Sized) July 16, 2019
Vrabel spoke about the fact that Mariota enters the last year of his contract, saying that such a situation won’t affect his morale and dedication.
“I know Marcus’ demeanor and that won’t change whether he’s on a 10-year contract or it’s up after the season. He’s that type of person. So I know it’ll work because of how he is.”
Mariota will earn $20,922,000 in the upcoming season, and he is expecting a new contract with at least several millions higher salary. Vrabel and the Titans still haven’t made any contacts with the QB on that subject, which increases the tensions among the fans.
Though he did indicate what are the intentions of the franchise form Nissan Stadium.
“When you make a commitment to the QB you want to make sure that this is going to be your guy for the next 7-10 years when you look at the percentage of the cap quarterbacks are driving,” Vrabel explained.
Tennessee’s coach didn’t want to talk too much about Mariota’s future. What he mentioned was the fact that the 25-year old work very hard during this summer, and that he came back much stronger and bigger than before.
“He’s come back stronger, bigger, with greater understanding of what we’re doing offensively, being able to communicate it to players the field.”
Mariota had to work more in the gym, because of his style of play. Over the recent few seasons he’s been hit frequently, and at one point that started to create health issues. After all, he missed the finish of the previous season because of an injury, and that eventually cost the Titans their playoff spot.
Mariota is one of two first-round QBs who didn’t get his extension before playing the fifth-year of his rookie deal. The other one is Jameis Winston. Interestingly these two guys were No.1 and No.2 picks in the 2015 NFL draft. While the majority of the public understands why Winston didn’t get his contract, the situation is a bit different from Mariota’s.
It appears that the Titans want to test him for one more year, and that they aren’t pretty sure in his capabilities. In order to provide him with a bit better surrounding, Tennessee landed Adam Humphries and picked A.J. Brown at the draft, two receivers who will upgrade his attack.
Also, the offensive line which hasn’t been that productive during the 2018, is now strenthgened with a couple of names. Just to remind you, Mariota was sacked 42 times last year. Partially because of his running, but also because of a poor protection.
It is now up to the player to prove his worth. The Titans’ fans are eager to see their favorites in the playoffs, and if by any chance Mariota leads them to the promise land, a new contract would be almost inevitable.
Nikola Velickovic is a sports journalist who loves to write and read on all sports. Nikola contributes both news updates and functions as a sports breaking news writer at WagerBop.