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Marcus Mariota looked at the focal point of a franchise and the impetus for a coaching change

NFL football means something.

Please, Tennessee Titans fans, do not buy it. Do not trust it. Do not panic. Mariota's misfires and one costly decision on Saturday's 16-6 preseason loss at Pittsburgh make Mariota's fourth season with the Titans.

His performance will dictate their future together. Mariota won for the Titans last season in Kansas City. AFC South title and more postseason success. Mariota, Matt LaFleur.

There's a sound on Mariota this season, and I do not know how anyone could. He's a good player. He is not and may never be a great player. He has tremendous physical talent and intangibles. He has worked hard to master this offense, and he's absolutely made progress in the spring until now.

Most humans can not get there. A handful or something in any particular era are truly great at it. Even if Mariota never surrenders, the titans likely will pay more than $ 20 million a year when it's time to extend him.

Now, if his performance in Saturday's "dress rehearsal" game becomes the norm, he Soon to be Johnny Manziel to Canada. Davis on another third down, or the forced ball

But you know better than reacting to cringing and changing the channel, right? Mariota threw good passes and touchdown drives on two of three preseason possessions before Saturday's 0-for-4. For the third straight game, he played without Delane Walker, Rishard Matthews and Jack Conklin.

Mariota plays – likely the Sept. 9 season opener at Miami, after Thursday's preseason final in which most Titans regulars wants to see little to no action – he wants Give the Titans a chance to win. He might have had three of those guys with him.

Mariota in this offense – and as the future of this franchise – can begin.

Contact Joe Rexrode at jrexrode@tennessean.com and follow him on Twitter @joerexrode .


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