Titans Know They Have Franchise QB in Marcus Mariota


NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Titans are searching for a permanent head coach.

The team is also looking for a new general manager.

One thing that's not on the radar: a new starting quarterback.

"We have our franchise quarterback,'' Titans safety Michael Griffin said. "We have a good quarterback."

Mariota, the second overall pick of the NFL Draft, broke several franchise rookie records in 2015, including most touchdown passes (19), completions (230), passing yards (2,818) and passing attempts (370) while playing in 12 games.

Mariota completed three or more touchdown passes on four different occasions during his rookie season. He joined Peyton Manning (four in 1998) as the only rookie to accomplish the feat.

Along the way, he impressed his teammates as well.

"He is a great guy, man,'' guard Chance Warmack said. "There's not much you can say about Marcus that's bad. He does things the right way. If you are looking for a model athlete in terms of just being a quarterback, a young quarterback.

"He is going to be amazing. The sky is the limit for Marcus."

This time last year, there was uncertainty surrounding the quarterback position.

Zach Mettenberger had just wrapped up his rookie season, and some wondered if the team might stick with him. Mariota, the Heisman Trophy winner from Oregon, and Jameis Winston, who won a Heisman Trophy himself at Florida State, were set to become available in the upcoming NFL Draft.

The Titans selected Mariota, of course. The stability he provides at the position moving forward is huge, players said.

"I think Marcus was a great rookie. He had a few injuries that set him back a little bit but overall, but I think he has been the best quarterback I have played with,'' receiver Kendall Wright said. "I have played with seven (quarterbacks) in four years, but Marcus will be here for a while and to get a chance to play with him. ... That is definitely a big plus. "Whenever we get together with him (this offseason), before we come back, I think that would be good for all of us. We can work on a lot of timing and just being around each other."

Mariota said he plans to take the first part of the offseason to heal up – he missed four games with injuries, including the last two games with a right knee injury.

Looking back, he believes his rookie season was a success.

"I wish we could have had a few more wins,'' Mariota said. "My goal was to come in here and make an impact, and I thought I did that to an extent.

"My first priority (now) is getting healthy, wherever (location) that might be, we'll see. That is going to be my first goal in mind, to get healthy, and once that happens gain a little weight and get ready for the offseason."

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

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