Former Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota signed a free-agent deal this week with the Atlanta Falcons.
Mariota is expected to be the Falcons’ starting quarterback in 2022.
(Atlanta traded long-time starting quarterback Matt Ryan to the Indianapolis Colts earlier this offseason.)
It’ll be the first time that Mariota has been a starting quarterback since week six of the 2019 season when he was benched by Titans head coach Mike Vrabel in favor of Ryan Tannehill.
Marcus Mariota speaks about his time with the Titans
On Friday, Mariota spoke about his time in Nashville. And it sounds like he was more than ready to move on from the Titans after the 2019 season.
“During my time in Tennessee, we went through a lot of different things,” said Mariota. “I went through coaching changes, went through a broken ankle, some of these things that people would call adversity.”
“At that point in time in my career in 2019, I was tired,” explained Mariota. “I was just kind of tired of all the turnover, was tired of being beat up, and I wasn’t playing well. And at the end of the day, this is a performance-based business, and when you’re not playing well, things happen, and I understood that.”
“These last couple of years for me was a great reset. I got a chance to take a step back, learn, and I feel like I have and these experiences have created a lot of value for me.”
I don’t think that’s a shot at the Titans from Mariota. I think he was just in a tough situation, going through multiple head coaches and offensive coordinators, and he had dealt with a lot of injuries. And while that was going on, there was a debate raging about whether or not he was the long-term answer at quarterback for the Titans.
It’s certainly understandable that Mariota felt “tired”. He wasn’t necessarily set up for success with Tennessee. Maybe if he had the stability the Titans have now, we’d be having a different conversation about Mariota.
But that’s not how sports work. You don’t get a mulligan. Now Mariota has to go make the best of his career’s second life. Who knows, maybe Mariota, who is only 28, will finally live up to the first-round hype.
Featured image via Andrew Nelles / Tennessean.com / USA TODAY NETWORK