April 20, 2020 – Marcus Mariota’s longtime coach believes the former Tennessee Titans quarterback’s 2019 season was impacted by a nerve injury he suffered during the 2018 season.
Mariota dealt with a slew of injuries in his fourth season, but none more serious than the nerve issue. It was so serious that Mariota faced the possibility of permanent damage to his arm, which forced him to miss a do-or-die Week 17 game against the Indianapolis Colts.
According to Vic Tafur of The Athletic, Vinny Passas believes the nerve injury lingered into the 2019 season, impacting his play.
“The timing was just bad for him,” Passas said. “He wasn’t fully healed and then he took a lot of punishment in the preseason. But he did have an opportunity to make plays and he didn’t, and it’s a bottom-line league. And he wasn’t the new staff’s guy when it came in, in 2018.”
This would make sense, as Mariota’s throws didn’t seem to have a lot of zip on them and he would miss what should have been easy completions. At the time, there was speculation that perhaps he wasn’t fully healthy.
But those weren’t his only issues, as the Oregon product played behind putrid protection to start the season, and he exacerbated that issue by holding on to the ball for too long.
Mariota was eventually benched for Ryan Tannehill, who went 7-3 in the Titans’ last 10 games to help lead them to the playoffs.
Now, Mariota has signed with the Las Vegas Raiders and will get the change of scenery that many, including Passas, believe will be good for his career.
“He needed a change of scenery,” Passas said in a telephone interview Thursday. “Some new chemistry around him. Even though he is making another change at offensive coordinator and learning a new language, it’s good for him.”
Can the former No. 2 overall pick unseat the current starter in Las Vegas — Derek Carr — and revive his career, much like Tannehill did in 2019?
Only time will tell.