The biggest storyline surrounding the Tennessee Titans this season is whether or not Marcus Mariota will be viewed by general manager Jon Robinson and the front office as their franchise quarterback moving forward.
After a 1-2 start to the season, which includes a demolition of the Cleveland Browns and an embarrassing loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars on Thursday Night Football, we still have no idea which way the Titans will choose to go with Mariota.
The former Oregon Duck shows signs of greatness one week, then signs of perpetual mediocrity the next. It’s hard to know what Tennessee will get on the field from Mariota on a week to week basis.
One thing, however, that Tennessee knows they’ll consistently get from Mariota is accountability.
In fact, it’s probably his best trait.
The Athletic’s John Glennon recently wrote a terrific story about how Mariota constantly accepts the blame for anything that goes wrong for the Titans on offense. It’s a trait that Glennon described as “endearing” to Mariota’s teammates.
It’s undoubtedly a trait that every human could benefit from possessing — taking ownership of mistakes.
But it’s a trait that might be holding the Titans back.
Look, it’s great that Mariota wants to improve. It’s great that he wants to limit mistakes and he holds himself to a high standard.
But it’s not always the quarterback who screws up. Every player on every team that’s ever been assembled has screwed up at some point.
Tennessee needs Mariota to be the leader of the franchise. And that means sometimes he needs to have tough conversations with teammates when they drop the ball (both figuratively and literally).
The ability to have those hard, sometimes confrontational, conversations with teammates is part of why Peyton Manning and Tom Brady (along with many others) are such great leaders.
Mistakes are going to be made. And the coaching staff is in place to make sure those mistakes are corrected and don’t happen again.
But Mariota needs to be a leader who isn’t afraid to confront his teammates when a mistake is made. He doesn’t need to take ownership of every mistake that happens, because it’s not all on him.
If Mariota is publicly and privately taking ownership of all the offensive mistakes, then it’s not helping Tennessee’s offense improve.
The Titans need a leader under center, not a player content with shouldering the blame.
Featured image via Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports