Back on the field after recovering from a broken right leg a season ago, Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota has created high expectations entering his third year in the National Football League.
Award-winning Sports Illustrated columnist Peter King said “Marcus Mariota will be a strong MVP candidate” for a Titans squad that he predicted will rise to the top of the AFC South Division.
Number 8’s peers have also been impressed. Following his 3,426 yard 26 touchdown to 9 interception sophomore season, Mariota was voted as the 50th best player in the NFL in a list voted on by players.
“He’s a really good young player. You watch him grow every game, he’s like a vet out there.” Packers defensive lineman Mike Daniels said on NFL Network’s unveiling.
“No defensive lineman wants to deal with a quarterback who can run. He’s gonna get the ball out fast.” Daniels added.
Mariota’s effectiveness increases where it maters most, in the red zone. According to Pro Football Focus, the Music City Maestro already conducts his offense among the best in the league inside the 20 yard line.
“Throughout his career, when in the red zone, Mariota has completed 60 of his 94 (64 percent) pass attempts with 33 touchdowns and zero interceptions. Among all 52 quarterbacks with more than 10 red-zone pass attempts over this stretch, Mariota ranks fourth in completion percentage, first in touchdown percentage, and first in interception percentage.”
Daniels agrees that red-zone efficiency and protecting the football has been the key to Mariota’s high value among players.
“He smells blood.” Daniels said.
“He gets in the red zone he says ‘Ok I’m close to those six points I’m going to get them, there’s nothing you can do to stop me.’ That’s what makes him so good.”
The entire list can be viewed by clicking here. The Titans open their preseason August 12th against the Jets.