Former Steelers QB Likes Mularkey-Mariota Pairing

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SAN FRANCISCO – Former NFL quarterback Kordell Stewart loves Marcus Mariota's game.

What he likes even more: Mariota's surroundings in Tennessee.

Stewart, who played 11 seasons in the NFL, enjoyed his greatest success under the tutelage of Titans coach Mike Mularkey while in Pittsburgh. Stewart led the 2001 Steelers to a 13-3 regular-season record while throwing for over 3,000 yards, and completing 60 percent of his passes.

Mularkey was Stewart's offensive coordinator that season in Pittsburgh. Stewart was elected to the Pro Bowl in 2001, and was named AFC Offensive Player of the Year.

"Mike will be great with Marcus, because I think the experience with me from a mobile quarterback standpoint really would help him understand how to deal with him,'' Stewart said from Radio Row at Super Bowl 50. "I think Marcus is a great talent. He is much bigger, he is just as fast, and it is just a matter of just getting his feet wet. The likings are similar, it is just getting everything around him to work, and to help. Mike Mularkey is a great coach, he understands it, and he gets it. He's a former player, so he understands the player-coach standpoint. Mike is going to be great for Mariota."

Stewart played from 1995-2002 with the Steelers before playing with the Bears and the Ravens. Nicknamed "Slash," he was known for his athleticism and versatility. He threw for 14,746 yards during his career, and ran for 2,874 more.

Mularkey and Stewart were together seven seasons in Pittsburgh, with Mularkey serving as Pittsburgh's tight ends coach for Stewart's first five seasons with the team. New Titans offensive line coach Russ Grimm was Pittsburgh's offensive line coach during Stewart's final two seasons in Pittsburgh.

Titans defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau was also in Pittsburgh.

"They have the recipe there in Tennessee,'' Stewart said. "Russ Grimm gave us a phenomenal package when it came to blocking schemes, especially in the passing schemes which will help Marcus a lot. It is nothing like having a good young quarterback and not having a quality blocking scheme and I think Russ will give him that.

"And coach LeBeau, it takes a little time for people to understand that complex 3-4 defense and now they have to try and find a guy similar Troy Polamalu, a guy who can be on an island by himself when they are doing the zone-blitzing and things of that nature. I think once they can find those players that can fit that mold and way of playing football, they are going to win a lot of games."

Stewart watched Mariota play at Oregon. He also watched him as a rookie with the Titans, when he broke numerous rookie franchise records.

"Nowadays the mobile quarterback is the answer. Back when I was playing, nah,'' Stewart said with a smile. "Mariota is a humble young man, he is what you want for your organization, he has that Hawaiian flavor, and he is real quiet and cool. He's going to be all right."

Stewart said he expects Mariota and Mularkey to find success together, just like he did when paired with him in Pittsburgh.

"Mularkey is getting the people I've had success with and knowing what it takes to be successful in the National Football League, they are going to win a lot of football games,'' Stewart said. "I can guarantee you, and you can put that in bold print, they are going to win a lot of football games. They will win in that division, and sooner rather than later. I like what they are building in Tennessee"

TitansOnline.com looks back at the 2015 rookie season of Titans QB Marcus Mariota. (AP Photos)

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