Titans Watch: 16 More Days

August 28th, 2015

Ken Whisenhunt, Marcus MariotaJoe’s already called opening day against the Tennessee Titans on Sept. 13 in Tampa a “must-win.”

It’s not a must-win for the standings. Duh. But it is necessary for the psyche of a fanbase that’s hasn’t seen a home victory since 2013, and compares Jameis Winston to Marcus Mariota.

 A big surprise of the preseason is that Mariota has not run the football. Nope, he’s not panicky in the pocket, and the Titans have rarely rolled out any zone-read and other plays suited to Mariota’s wheels.

But that might be changing tonight in the Titans-Chiefs preseason game, writes David Climer of USA Today.

While they’ve kept it pretty vanilla for the most part, the intermittent zone-read play has raised eyebrows.

In two preseason games, Mariota has run with the ball a grand total of one time for one yard. Against St. Louis, he pulled the ball away from running back Bishop Sankey at the last instant and bolted to his right before running out of bounds with linebacker Alec Ogletree in hot pursuit.

While the zone-read play is a staple of many college offenses including Oregon’s, it is comparatively rare in the NFL. Seattle, Carolina, San Francisco and Philadelphia are the leading practitioners. Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson averaged 7.4 carries per game last season, many of them on the zone-read play.

Joe is extremely confident the Titans will play some zone-read early against the Bucs, or flash enough of it tonight to get Lovie Smith overthinking it — and overcoaching it — as he prepares to call the defensive plays against Tennessee.

Mariota really doesn’t scare Joe. It’s exotic-blitz-happy Titans defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau and the Bucs’ offensive line that has Joe drinking heavily.


16 Responses to “Titans Watch: 16 More Days”

  1. CreamsicleBananaHammock Says:

    Nope, he’s not panicky in the pocket

    Totally disagree…he’s broken the pocket when he hasn’t needed to, double clutched when he didn’t need to (should’ve resultd in a couple picks) and looked overwhelmed when faced with a pass rush.

    He’s looked very panicky in the pocket

  2. Casual Observer Says:

    Mariota should scare Joe; at least a bit. Both these rookie QBs are outstanding. While I hope Jamais and the Bus prevail, I suspect Mariota will play very well – and could win. Like the other time these two met. Just sayin … that other QB is pretty good too.

  3. Buc1987 Says:

    Not skeered of Mariota…at all…unless he’s running that Oregon O and this is FSU, but it’s the NFL. Good luck with it Marcus.

  4. 813bucboi Says:

    as long as our de’s keep containment and hit him everytime they run a zone read play we will be good..mariota has shown some flashes but he’s still a rookie..if the bucs perform how they did Monday night, we will be fine..GO BUCS!!!

  5. TheShaz Says:

    Bucs have very good LB speed……

    I cant see the Zone Option working against the Bucs defense.

  6. Drywaller Buc Says:

    What about Mariota split out at wide receiver, hitch n pass or reverse and pass. Look out!!! Good way to keep defense honest … Probly won’t happen tho

  7. Joe Says:

    Josh, this is old news and Joe has written about it already in various training camp notes. Please stay on topic in comments –Joe

  8. Waterboy Says:

    With the new rule change that allows defenders to lay the wood on the QB’s when running the zone read I think it should be pretty easy to stop teams running that system. Everytime there’s any question on whether the QB or RB is getting the ball on the read option just hit the QB.

  9. Abdominal Snowman Says:

    I think Lovie will dial up the blitzes on Mariota. If we can rattle Dalton the way we did then I definitely can see us shaking up a wide eyed rookie. The question is can our DEs contain and stay at home when he breaks the pocket.

    My biggest fear on defesnse is opposing teams success with the dink and dunk vs us. That seems to be Mariota’s MO. Can we get pressure and interrupt the recievers routes and timing?

    Man I can’t wait for Sept 13!!!! GO BUCS!!!!

  10. Jack Burton Mercer Says:

    I seem to remember one opening day rookie QB, not as accomplished as Mariota, who had our number a few seasons ago. I”m always worried until it’s over.

  11. Buccfan37 Says:

    I expect a lot of dinking and dunking also. I trust Lovie and the D to blow that action up.

  12. Tampa Tony Says:

    Mariotta looks like a Checkdown artist so far

  13. Big Irish Says:

    November 29th……Buccaneers @ Colts!
    Winston vs Luck!!
    Oh Baby!!!

  14. White Tiger Says:

    Mariota takes this one – he’s a better fit behind his offensive line right now. The Buccaneer line has at least a year before it can keep heat off of Kid Fameis.

    There isn’t going to be much of a contest. Fameis is a sitting duck, Mariota can move…and has moved it as well as Fameis…but no one has come close to rolling Mariota’s ankle…

    Thinking we win more than 6 or 7 this year is a pipe dream. Keeping Fameis upright will be a major accomplishment.

  15. StPeteBucsFan Says:

    And so White Tiger you think the Buc’s performance against Geno Atkins and a very good DL was just due to the pre season. Smith pancaked a guy…Marpet was mauling people and the line is clearly progressing.


  16. Strider Says:

    Way way way up Go Bucs been ridiculed far too long for being a Bucs fan -_-