James Kenney / Associated Press
The Tennessee Titans Organization can not rely on Marcus Mariota. Despite the Quarterback's natural abilities and sportsmanship, he has not remained healthy ̵
Mariota left the 25-16 win over the Washington Redskins in the second quarter on Saturday after being knocked down by defensive linesman Jonathan Allen. The team described the injury of the quarterback as a sting, according to Jim Wyatt from the official side of the Titans.
Another injury. Another disappointment. There was so much hope on Mariota's obstructive shoulder, but the Titans have no indication that the second overall victory in 2015 can withstand the physical demands required for the game's primary position.
Availability is the best skill of a professional athlete.
To make matters worse – for Mariota this is – Blaine Gabbert came into play with the Titans after 10-6, leading them to a win that sustained their playoff hopes ,
"It's huge, that's why [Gabbert] is here," said head coach Mike Vrabel to reporters after the game. "That's his job, to be ready and to prepare like a starter, and when his opportunity arises to make the best of it."
] A difference between the two quarterbacks was not even registered. Mariota completed 10 of 13 passes for 110 yards, while Gabbert completed seven of 11 for 101 yards and the playful touchdown pass.
NFL @ NFL
All expected Derrick Henry.
Gabbert sold the fake.
Touchdown, @Titans! #TitanUp
W: #WASvsTEN @nflnetwork https://t.co/sW2E1PkPp1[19659013UnhighlyclearpicturehavebeenhavebeenhittheTitan'ssolutionincredibleinthefirstroundwithafairlydevelopedhistoryofAverage-toSubpar-PlayitspowerstakesoutthereofSomeoftheSeriine19659004]The Titans are not building on the quarterback position. Tennessee's best chance of winning every week depends on an offensive attack behind a physically impressive offensive line and runs back. Over the past three weeks, Derrick Henry has become a real workhorse with 71 carries for 492 yards and seven touchdowns.
To consistently compete with a ball control offense, a team must have a strong defense. The Titans were tied for the first overall victory in points with 18.1 points per game, before they improved their average to Washington with only 16 points.
Essentially, the Titans franchise is in a no-man's-land where off-season is a possibility, but a legitimate Super Bowl run is far-fetched.
Teams need high quality quarterback games to consistently win. The Titans did not receive that, even though Mariota was healthy this season. The Front Office has to decide whether the 25-year-old quarterback will earn a five-year option for his $ 20.9 million rookie contract – even considering the possibility that he will not be able to improve the position significantly in this off-season.
There is no good solution to this quarterback puzzle.
The injury story of Mariota could be the driving force of long-term planning. Vrabel would not explain the status of the quarterback after the game and did not mention if it is related to his previous elbow injury, such as ESPN.com Turron Davenport .
Nearly every player suffers at some point. But a sting is more worrisome when it happens to a quarterback who suffered a nerve injury on the elbow at the beginning of the season, did not start two games after that and possibly had problems with his throwing arm.
Frederick Breedon / Getty Images
"The way you explained it to me is like strumming a guitar string," I'm nervous ", said Mariota after sitting in Tennessee's Week 2 contest against the Houston Texans against Erik Bacharach of Tennessean "My nerves were somehow hit so it will take time to reassure yourself."
Peyton Manning ended his career after suffering nerve damage on the nape of his neck and was unable to feel his fingertips, but he was in his late thirties. The Indianapolis Colts Andrew Luck considered retirement during his recovery These injuries are not easy to take.
Mariota's current status is only part of a much larger picture.
Since joining the league, the native Hawaiian had ended his rookie season with an MCL stunt auchung. The quarterback f During his second campaign he treated his right fibula. In the 2017 season, he dealt with tormenting thigh and knee problems. Overall, Mariota has missed seven games in four seasons, but the severity of these injuries is far worse than the total number of missed games.
When an organization needs to hold its collective breath each time the quarterback scores a hit brass team should wonder if it's the right person to lead the team. Talent and respect are wonderful qualities for quarterback position, but these two qualities mean almost nothing if reliability is not included in the equation.
The Titans quarterback has not just set the world on fire when he was in the field. He has provided a 24 to 23 touchdown-to-intercept ratio in his last 29 regular season games. His development of Spread Phenom was not proceeding according to plan, even as the staff tried to build the scheme around his unique abilities. Instead, offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur took a different path in recent weeks, relying on his extraordinary running to get the team's offense back on track.
Tennessee's Pass-Stoss landed on the 30th place of the Saturday's contest. This is not entirely Mariotta's fault. The Titan quarterback is the most pressurized caller of the league . The broad receivers and the tight ends of the team are not a threat. But Mariota has not helped.
A quarterback with a franchise should increase the game of his fellow men. Mariota does not have. He still has to show that he is more than a product of a system, especially if the Titans are making a significant investment in it. Mark Humphrey / Associated Press
"We're glad to have him here for the next couple of years, and hopefully we can figure something out after the next season to keep him around even longer," said General Manager Jon Robinson, having uncovered the Titans, should avail of Mariotas fifth election year by Jason Wolf of Tennessean .
Robinson would like to reconsider these plans and alternatives in First, the CEO should ask an important question: Is Mariota the right quarterback to lead the Titans? The answer was obvious earlier, but not anymore.
The Titans can be a veteran in pursue free mediation at a lesser price as a substitute for Mariota and / or serve as a bridge to a different perspective Teddy Bridgewater, Tyrod Taylor, Joe Flacco (once published fentlicht) and Nick Foles (after the Eagles rejected his 2019 option) are launch options. The organization could then double by designing another quarterback to develop.
Neither Robinson nor Vrabel are tied to Mariota. This regime did not draw him. There can be no reason not to consider every option available in the search for a general improvement.
When Mariota's season ends prematurely due to an injury, the Titans' plans should also work for him.
Brent Sobleski covers the NFL for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter: @brentsobleski .