Marcus Mariota said he plans to be more of a vocal leader for the Tennessee Titans as he enters year two as the team’s starting quarterback.
As Mariota’s rookie season unfurled, you could see that teammates were gravitating to the former Oregon star both on the field and in the locker room as a leader. But now with a year under his belt, Mariota seems more willing to take on that role.
Mariota said his first item of business is to get the Titans into the win column more often than last year’s 3-13 disaster. The losing grated on the rookie, who had enjoyed success during virtually his entire college career at Oregon.
“That’s just who I am as a competitor, and there are a lot of the same feelings throughout this room. We need to make a change and we need to make a difference,” Mariota said.
For his part, he plans to assume a bigger role as a leader among his teammates.
“For me, what’s most important … is stepping up as a leader and being more vocal, and then just from there, finding ways to win,” Mariota said. “I think that’s just been the tone for the last few months here, just finding ways to win, however that may be.”
During his off-season, after about a month of rest, Mariota spent some time working out with some other NFL quarterbacks and also with mechanics guru Tom House, the former major league pitcher turned quarterback whisperer. More recently, Mariota gathered together with several of his Titans teammates recently in Nashville to throw the ball and run some routes leading up to the opening of the off-season program that started Monday.
And while some of the old and familiar things are still in place, there is plenty that is new around St. Thomas Sports Park as well. For one thing, he has a new offensive coordinator in Terry Robiskie, who is a Mike Mularkey confidante from their time together with the Atlanta Falcons.
Mariota said he and Robiskie are already on the same page when it comes to their desire to win.
“He’s someone who is willing to do anything to win, and I think that’s what we need. We kind of need to have that mentality moving forward, and if continue to build on that, we’ll go into the season with a solid foundation,” Mariota said of Robiskie’s demeanor.
There are subtle changes that are being made to the Titans offense with Mularkey now at the helm. Mariota said the changes are evident, but not cumbersome.
“Yes, there are differences, but you can’t totally simplify the whole thing because the defenses will predict what you’re doing,” Mariota said. “So for the most part, from what I’ve seen of it so far, it’s simpler, but I think we still have the complexities that are needed to play this game.”