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Mutual Respect: Mariota, Rodgers Praise One Another


NASHVILLE, Tenn. —Aaron Rodgers has been named the league's MVP twice in his 12-year career, and he's been voted to five Pro Bowls. He has a Super Bowl MVP on his resume.

Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota has watched the Packers quarterback from afar, and been impressed.

"I think he's one of the best to play right now,'' Mariota said of Rodgers. "He's played at such a high level for quite some time now. His ability to win a game from both inside and outside the pocket—he's such a versatile player that it makes defenses tough to match up against him and causes a lot of damage to them."

On Sunday, Rodgers and the Packers will visit Nissan Stadium.

During a conference call with Nashville media on Wednesday, Rodgers offered high praise for Mariota, who won a Heisman Trophy while at Oregon during the 2014 season before being drafted second overall by the Titans in the 2015 NFL Draft.

"I have seen a little bit, and I've always been a fan of his since he was playing at Oregon,'' Rodgers, who played at California, said of Mariota. "Us Pac-12 guys, I'd in general like to pull for our conference. He had a spectacular career in college, really handles himself with a great sense of humility and speaks well. From afar, I've appreciated his game for a while now. He can do it all on the field. He's extremely gifted athletically, and he's doing a good job of throwing it efficiently. I'm definitely impressed with him with the way he comes off and the way he's playing."

Mariota said the Packers have a solid defense, with "some game-wreckers."

The Titans will look to keep it going on offense on Sunday.

The Titans have scored 26 points or more in five games in a row, and 30-plus points in three of those five games.

Mariota has seven touchdowns and one interception for a 121.9 rating in the past three games at home.

"I think if we just go out there with the mentality that we've had and to score on every possession, you can't worry about what the other offense is doing,'' Mariota said. "When you tend to try to compare yourself and do those things, I really think that kind of hinders you. For us, it's just focusing on trying to score on every drive, score on every possession and not worry about what's going on on the other side."

Mariota, who lost a fumble on Sunday, was asked on Wednesday about what he can do to limit his fumbles. He said ball security continues to be a point of emphasis. Mariota has lost a handful of fumbles this season.

"Continue to work on it in practice, continue to harp ball security in and out of the pocket,'' he said. "It's an ongoing thing for me. I've been doing it since the offseason. It sucks when it doesn't come out to work well during the course of a game, but that's part of it. It's part of my growing process. It's part of things that I can do to get better. It is frustrating at times, but I've just got to continue to work at it and we'll get better."

The Titans (4-5) and Packers (4-4) are both coming off losses this past Sunday.

Sunday's meeting will be the first between the teams since the 2012 season.

"Right now, I think as a team, our mentality is just taking it one game at a time," Mariota said. "You understand the overall big picture, but if you focus on what the task is at hand—that team, that opponent for that week—and you eventually beat those teams, you continue to build some of these games all together. Eventually, you'll get to a point when you look up at the end of the season and you're where you want to be. All we can really do is focus on what's going on this week and try to get some momentum going."

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