Titans Watch: 29 More Days

August 15th, 2015

Ken Whisenhunt, Marcus MariotaMarcus Mariota and the sickly Tennessee Titans, the Bucs’ opening day opponent, kicked off the preseason last night in Atlanta.

First, Joe must say that the Falcons’ aerial assault was razor sharp, absolutely carved up the Titans. Matt Ryan opened up 6-for-6 with a touchdown on the first 91-yard drive and did not return. Sheesh.

The Titans pass rush did not breathe on Ryan.

Mariota, though, was not so hot.

Mariota’s first throw, on second down, was a read-option look that Atlanta chomped on, leaving Mariota with an easy throw to Harry Douglas in the right flat for a first down, 11 yards.

His second pass also was complete, this time out of an empty-backfield look. A four-yard toss on 2nd-and-3.

Mariota dropped back in play-action on the next snap and seemed stunned by the pass rush. He didn’t try to elude and took an 11-yard sack. The play forced the Titans into a timeout because the sack left Mariota’s helmet in need of repair.

Now 2nd-and-21, Mariota throws a bad pick on a screen pass, and proceeds to miss the tackle on the interceptor. Mariota is then seen smiling on the sidelines.

On the second drive for the young Hawaiian, the Titans run twice before Mariota heads to the shotgun on third down. The ball is slapped out of his hand and becomes a scoop-and-score for the Falcons. Announcer Eddie George, the former running back great, advises Mariota to learn how to step up in the pocket in the NFL.

That was enough for Joe. Mariota finished 7-for-8 for 94 yards. His best throw might have been a 17-yard laser in traffic to Douglas in the right seam. The throw came out of the shotgun.

Joe hopes last night killed all the talk of Mariota being some sort of Superman because he didn’t throw interceptions in training camp.

42 Responses to “Titans Watch: 29 More Days”

  1. MGL Says:

    MM has a lot of potential and may very well be a good QB sooner rather than later, but as we all knew, he has a steep learning curve. Surely he learned a few things on Friday night!

    Hope that Tennessee pass rush looks as ineffective against Tampa as it did against Atlanta…

  2. Cannon Says:

    Looks like Mariota’s “no interception camp” is more a result of the Titans defense then it is of Mariota’s skills.

  3. TheBucsAnthem Says:

    Mariota had some good throws

    ….he’s a rookie

    And I expect the same things to happen to Jameis

    …..the real story last night in that game was mettenberger….he looked awesome and his arm strength and the velocity of the football reminded me of Brett Favre……mettenberger should be starting for some NFL—Buffalo Bills????

  4. Eric Hughes Says:

    Not sure why everyone was expecting a rooking QB to not make mistakes. What was more impressive to me is how he recovered. He wiped the turnovers from memory and led his team to a score going 5-5 on the scoring drive. That tells me more than 2 turnovers.

    Winston making mistakes in pre-season practices and games should be expected, but the media wants to blow it up bigger than it is. Just go back and look at all the great QBs. Pretty sure they didn’t come out of the gates without making mistakes. Media has gotten to be a joke. I just laugh now at most of what they report.

  5. Bubbabucsfan Says:

    Did atl take out their starters on defense on the Titans third drive? Anyone know?

  6. Kalind Says:

    Looks like you were right Joe. Now that Mariota has come back to earth, so have all the delusional Mariota apologists. Winston was the better player/pick. Still is. Likely always will be.

    Glad we get a few moments of respite from those loons.

  7. CreamsicleBananaHammock Says:

    More than the interception and fumble, his footwork last night was absolutely atrocious….even on the completed passes he showed he still has a long way to go before he’s ready to play in the league.

    If you get a chance to watch the game again watch his footwork….it’s seriously the worst I’ve seen from an NFL QB

  8. Jolly Bucs Fan Says:

    While I wanted the Bucs to draft Winston, I am still a fan of Mariota,great kid. I hope he is successful in this league (just not more than Winston 😉 ) but he is still bound to experience some growing pains.

    What I find most telling is:

    1) The lack of pass rush by the titans. Hopefully that is indicative of how they will perform week one. But its possible that this was just a vanilla package on Defense and they open by bringing complicated blitzes at us. Still a lack of rush from their front four is promising.

    2) New Defensive scheme growing pains. Matt Ryan shredded this defense, it appears there’s going to be an adjustment period for this defense and that certainly bodes well for a young bucs team and their young buck at QB looking to gain some confidence early this season

    3) their O-line appeared to struggle heavily. Hopefully we can keep the pressure on Mariota and force some rookie mistakes.

  9. chickster Says:

    He looked good and he recovered nicely that’s what I saw

  10. LargoBuc Says:

    I am not concerned about Tennessee. I kept saying Lebeau will struggle without the personel he had in Pittsburgh. No point in having confusing blitz packages if your defense is more confused than the other team!
    Atlanta’s oline sucks too so that really speaks to how bad a group Lebeau has to work with!
    Personally, as long as we stop them from running, Atlanta should not sweep us this year. That 56-24 was a fluke. It qas utterly disgusting. But a fluke none the less. Our defense has grown so much since that game. Their aerial assault should play right into what we do best. Let our d line pin their ears back and let our back seven fly around. I wana see Banks push Julio around a little bit. No more of that off coverage. Lets their “star” receiver get beat up a little. Conte can help over top. That’s one of his few strengths.
    As for their defense, Jameis isnt Marcus. You punch him he going to punch back. Their not going to frazzle him as easily. And their secomdary wants to play like Seattle. They wana get physical. UM, your not getting physical with Vjax and Evans lol. Quinn dosent have Sherman and Maxwrll and Chancellor. They dont have those tough guys in Atlanta to get overly physical, especially with us. But its details like that the talking heads dont address .

  11. Santos Says:

    For those asking it was the Back ups mariota moved the ball on in his 3rd drive

  12. LargoBuc Says:

    Not to say. however, that Mariota looked bad. He looked timid at first but I think he might have learned that you gotta stick out ypur chest a little in this league. Your athleticism will only get you so far. And to his credit, he stuck out his chest, kept his head up and delivered. Hoeevwr, the Falcons arent the toughest team out there. Wait until he plays Baltimore or Houston or Buffalo or even the Jags, who like to hit people on defense. We’ll see.

  13. Dick2111 Says:

    For the media, comparing Marcus Mariota to Jameis Winston makes a nice story, but the reality is that it’s meaningless. Both are simply working hard to learn the NFL ropes. Steep learning curves …. for both … I’m sure.

    Jameis only needs to compare himself to Jameis … and become the best QB that he can possibly become. From what I’ve seen since he was drafted, Jameis appears to be keeping that in far better perspective than the media.

  14. tdtb2015 Says:

    Not bad 1st preseason for the rookie!

    Lets go Jameis!

  15. Brian Dorry Says:

    I’m as big of a Mariota hater as you’ll come across and I’ll admit, with the exception of the bad turnovers, he threw the ball really damn well. I just question what he’s gonna be able to do when the pass rush gets to him.

  16. Ben Says:

    Give M.M. 3 years and he will be a much better qb and way more exciting to watch then Winston..

  17. StPeteBucsFan Says:

    Again I’m on the record as saying both of these QB’s will have good to great careers. One doesn’t have to suck for the other to be considered great.

    Marcus performance last night has nothing to do with Fameis performance tonight. i thought Marcus had an excellent first game. Was he awesome? Nope. Did he show some rookie weaknesses? Absolutely! Perhaps if the Titans had tosssed the kitchen sink at MM during camp, like the Bucs have done to Fameis, MM would have recognized that Linebacker sitting in coverage for the easy pick.

    Funny that Fameis has ALREADY seen this in practice and he’s already had his share of picks…his education. He said in one interview that the NFL linebackers are waaayyy better in coverage than college LB’s. Let’s hope that Fameis is better prepared against the Vikings tonight. The Vike D already has one game under their belts.

  18. Waterboy Says:

    I watched Mariota closely last night and will continue to do so all season but what I observed last night was exactly what I expected based on the college film that I’ve watched of him. He’s not comfortable in the pocket and lacks the natural instincts of a pocket passer I understand he’s just a rookie but that’s a basic skill that I’d expect an NFL QB to have and not something that you can easily teach. If you watch the fumble that he had on the 2nd drive his O-line actually didn’t do a terrible job. They held their blocks and setup a pocket for him to step up into and pass. I think the guy has a decent arm and very accurate with the ball but I don’t think he reads the field well after the snap which is/was one of my knocks on him coming out of that Oregon system. I still say he was overdrafted and has the potential to be a fairly good QB if allowed to sit for awhile and sharpen his skills instead of being pushed on to the field too early in his career. If you watch Mettenberger play last night they seemed to almost run a totally different offense and had a different passing tree when he was in the game. If the Bucs coaches are smart on week 1 they would force Mariota to pass from the pocket and make throws down the middle of the field (unfortunately that’s the opposite of what the cover 2 likes to do). Take away those screens and those passes outside the hashes that he likes to throw.

  19. Destinjohnny Says:

    Ya 7 of 8 with one pick is really awful.

  20. Brent Says:

    That mariota is going to be real good. All you idiots who thought the fact he played in a non pro offense was prohibitive for him are going to look like petty fools. I like Winston too. But I still think mariota safer bet. I’m all for Winston though he’s our guy.

  21. Tampa Tony Says:

    Brent can I please have the lottery numbers? No one knows how these players are gonna turn out. The law of averages shows the majority of first rounders don’t pan out. Option qbs from college have a even greater fail rate.

  22. Tampa Tony Says:

    Mariotta also fumbled a lot in college. He was just lucky and his own team recovered the majority of them

  23. Tampa Tony Says:

    27 fumbles in 3 college years to me shows bad pocket awareness

  24. Brent Says:

    I’m just honest. Winston a buc so he’s my guy but mariota looks legit. Im not a petty little girl. hes big, good arm, can run and said to be smart. Polian and gruden love this guy. I don’t care about all this preseason talk. You wouldn’t see me watching a rival qb pre season game. You’d have to be a loser. Everybody is guessing no dah! I think both those guys will be good pros. Their both rookies so their going to have to learn.

  25. Buc1987 Says:

    I never even watched the game. Why? Because I don’t care about Mariota. Only clingers care about Mariota.

  26. Jack Burton Mercer Says:

    Funny how people feel the need to run one guy down just to pump up their own. Really doesn’t make your guy better; only makes you look foolish or desperate. Most people grow out of that. Makes me realize that most of the commenters are still pretty young.

  27. Buc1987 Says:

    Jack Burton Mercer…most of them are only running one guy down, because this site still has Buc fans that are in LOVE with Mariota and they think the Bucs took the wrong QB.

    I don’t see anyone trying to make Winston out to be the better QB just because MM played last night. I didn’t take it like that at all. Oh we to each his own I guess.

  28. Aaron Says:

    He wont stay healthy

  29. Name Required Says:

    I agree on Mettenberger. He was really slinging it all over the field, as if he wanted to remind the Titans they should have gone defense in the first round.

    And he’s right. That defense was horrific even for preseason.

    Tonight, let’s see how our QB does.

  30. Name Required Says:

    BTW, the message boards aren’t quite working for me. I’ve been using BBs for about 30 years with all the iterations. Am I missing something? Maybe because I’m using Chrome?

  31. Jack Burton Mercer Says:

    So you agree.

    Mettenberger did look good. I was surprised since he wasn’t much last year. I also thougt Bortles looked real good. Really accurate.

  32. Erik with Clean Athletics Says:

    I must admit that I’m definitely somewhat surprised to see Mariota struggling like that to start the game; even though it should be expected from a rookie QB…. Anyway, I’m super excited to see our new look offense tonite. F yea, I’m so glad football is back.

  33. Love and Warrick Dunn Says:

    “Destinjohnny Says:
    August 15th, 2015 at 11:10 am

    Ya 7 of 8 with one pick is really awful.”

    He had 3 total drives. The first 2 drives were turnovers inside his own 30, one where he threw a pick and then a fumble for a score. He gave them 10 points all on his own. You think that’s good?

    It’s a learning process, and not that big of a deal for either QB. But, the Mariota fanclub (ON A TAMPA BAY SITE) are the definition of bias. If it were Jameis, they would be bashing him and saying he’s a turnover machine. Take off the Duck colored glasses, fellas. We see right through you.

  34. Couch Fan Says:

    Mariota looked like hot garbage vs Atl’s starters. Most of his stats came against the back ups. If that impresses you… so be it.

  35. Joe Says:

    BTW, the message boards aren’t quite working for me. I’ve been using BBs for about 30 years with all the iterations. Am I missing something? Maybe because I’m using Chrome?

    1. Did you check your email for activation? If you didn’t receive it, check your spam folder.

    2. Make sure your Flash is updated.

    3. Always clear your cookies.

    From what Joe is gathering, its working for the vast majority of people, as in only a couple of folks for unknown reasons have had issues.

  36. Brent Says:

    In reality hard to judge these guys harshly first year. Lots of great qb struggle rookie years like aikman, manning both. These guys take a couple years normally. I just hope Winston can lead us to a few wins we wouldn’t have gotten and learn. If he’s next luck I’d be thrilled.

  37. Señor Mofo Says:

    We all know how much coaches hold back in the preseason.

    Something tells me that Jameis will see a lot more of Derrick Morgan and Brian Orakpo on September 13 than Matt Ryan saw last night.

  38. Señor Mofo Says:

    And frankly, I thought Mariota looked pretty good overall. Did he grossly underthrow or or overthrow anybody? Seven-of-eight says no.

    Did the game look too big for him? Did he get rattled? Did he get frustrated? Did he lose his cool?

    The sack wasn’t his fault, although he could have stood tall in the pocket instead of ducking the initial pressure.

    I thought the interception was his fault, because his release is so quick that he thinks he can fire it into that window at the last minute without a defender making that kind of play. Because in college, he could. Rookie assumption.

    The ball that was batted out of his hand was good defensive pressure, but Mariota could have had a better feel for that pursuit and tucked the ball in. He and Whisenhunt were seen joking about that play on the sideline. In the regular season, probably not so much joking.

    Very typical first preseason game for a rookie QB. He made some mistakes, but his overall mechanics, accuracy, and composure were solid.

  39. CreamsicleBananaHammock Says:

    Anybody saying Mariota looked good is either just looking at the stats or doesn’t understand what a good QB looks like

    Even on the completion on the dig route that everyone is so impressed with, he double clutched and threw entirely with his upper body…he won’t be able to get away with that every time especially when he’s going against the 1’s every play

    I really wish I knew how to make GIF’s so I could show you what I’m talking about but his fundamentals are hard to watch and his pocket presence is going to take some time to develop if it ever does

    TN is throwing this kid into the fire way too soon. Mettenberger will be your TN starter at some point this season…the only question for me is whether or not Mariota will be given a chance to develop or if the way TN is throwing him to the wolves is going to ruin his career

  40. jeff/chickster Says:

    overall he looked good he recovered nicely

  41. chickster Says:

    [Please stick to one username. Thanks in advance. — Joe]

  42. Skyline Crew Says:

    Titans’ defense bit hard on all play actions from Atlanta. Their O-Line was awful (’14 Bucs). McCoy should have a field day.