Tennessee Titans Divisional Playoff

Tennessee Titans: Can Marcus Mariota turn a corner?

If all goes well, by this time next year we might be calling Marcus Mariota “Hollywood”. According to an article on the tennessean.com, Mariota’s next quarterbacks coach Pat O’Hara has more experience as a movie consultant than an NFL coach. Working with the likes of Adam Sandler and Dwayne Johnson on their roles as quarterbacks on the big screen spent time with the division rival Houston Texans last season as an offensive assistant. Don’t roll your eyes just yet, O’Hara played 16 seasons in the NFL, World League and Arena Football League and isn’t just anyone out of the stands. He’ll take over as quarterbacks coach for the Tennessee Titans next season.

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After a 9-7 season and stealing a playoff victory from the Kansas City Chiefs the Titans quarterback showed promise. Even with the success of the season, it was thought throughout the front office the team was frustrated with the development of Mariota, leading to the mutual parting of ways between the team and head coach Mike Mularkey. Now the Titans will be led by head coach Mike Vrabel who is no stranger to winning football traditions.

Vrabel spent most of his career with winning programs. As a player he was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers. He’d go on to be a three-time Super Bowl champ with the New England Patriots. Towards the end of his career he was traded to the Kansas City Chiefs. As a coach, he’d go on to coach one of the power house teams in college football, the Ohio State Buckeyes. Vrabel would get his first experience as an NFL coach as a linebackers coach for the Houston Texans, impressing the team enough to be promoted to defensive coordinator last season.

So what does this all have to do with Marcus Mariota?

Mariota’s career has been slowed down by lack of leadership. When you take a player or coach who spent as much time with the New England Patriots such as Vrabel they’ve learned how to conduct themselves as a professional. Aside from the disgraced tight end Aaron Hernandez, the Patriots are hardly ever in the news for the wrong reason. They’ve had plenty of experience in the post season and know what it takes to win. Mike Vrabel will bring that experience and professionalism with him over to the Tennessee Titans.

I you’re looking for a fair judgement of what to expect out of Mariota look to the progress of Texans quarterback Dashaun Watson. In just seven games the rookie quarterback would throw just shy of 2,000 yards with 19 touchdowns and 8 interceptions. Watson didn’t start the season under center but after coming in mid-game in week 1 the reigns were quickly turned over and he never looked back. The Tennessee Titans are hoping Mariota can match that progress as the team still believes he’s the franchise quarterback. He’s not burning through the record books but has shown many times the promise it takes to lead the team. Now coach Mike Vrabel will have to resist his urge to focus mainly on the defense side of the football after years on that side. Vrabel’s work with the star quarterback will make or break his young coaching career.

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