By: Brendan Smart (@Bsmart21)
Heading into his third season in the NFL, Marcus Mariota has been on a roll. Consistently improving, collecting accolades, being the face of the franchise in Tennessee, and just being a great professional. All of these things have me believing that he will be a top five quarterback in 2017.
His first season, Mariota had to go through war on and off the field. His first season he experienced his first injury, a sprained MCL that kept him sidelined for the last few games of the regular season. Then, around the time of the injury, he had to go through a couching change as former Titans head coach Ken Whisenhunt was fired, and Mike Mularkey stepped in and earned the full time job. Also, a General Manager change, as Ruston Webster was let go, and Jon Robinson was signed as the new General Manager.
In a season that Rishard Mathews was his number on wide receiver (not bad), and Tajae Sharpe, a fifth round draft pick was his second guy, Mariota was outstanding. But even the 2016 season didn't end how he planned. A "trap" game in Jacksonville the Titans were playing for a game seven for the playoffs, if they won. The Titans Got destroyed and Marcus fractured his fibula which ended his season a game short.
Now, I've seen this with a lot of young quarterbacks and even players from other sports. These guys go through so much adversity, before loosing their mind for success. It's upon us Titans fans, Mariota is setup in a system that is supposed to run the ball down your throat, and he is going to throw 30 touchdowns passes and chew up almost 5,000 yards in the process.
It is has to be in the cards for Marcus. He's finally got help around him, solid hands, and an offensive line ready to protect their name as the "best" in football. Not to mention two of the best running backs in the game of football right now that will open up the passing game.
2017 is going to be a special one for Marcus, and a Titans offense that has so desperately needed success for years.