One day after it was reported that Honolulu’s Marcus Mariota had lost his spot as starting quarterback of the Titans, the Saint Louis graduate spoke with media members in Nashville on Wednesday.
“It’s a tough pill to swallow, but for me as an athlete I can learn and grow,” he said. “For me, my expectation is to be the best player I can be. To the day that I die, I’ll believe that I gave it all I’ve got. No matter what I can learn and grow from this situation. This isn’t going to bring me down, this isn’t going to end my career. This is an opportunity for me to grow and I’m going to make the most of it,” said Mariota.
The Titans, officially announced on Wednesday that Ryan Tannehill would start at quarterback against the Chargers on Sunday, putting the former Heisman Trophy winner in an unfamiliar role as a back-up.
“It is going to be different,” Mariota said. “I haven’t really been in this role for a long time, really at all in my career. But I am going to do everything I can to help Ryan and help this team. Ryan was supportive of me, and this is my opportunity to just be a good teammate.”
Tannehill, who joined the team via Trade in the off-season after being a starter in Miamo to start his career, replaced Mariota in the third quarter of Sunday’s game against the Broncos, an eventual 16-0 loss.
On the season, Mariota completed 94-of-159 passes for 1,179 yards with seven touchdowns and two interceptions, while having been sacked a league high 25 times in six games.
In making the decision, Head Coach Mike Vrabel said the team wanted to “get a little spark.” That comes after Tennessee has been held to a touchdown or less in three of the team’s first six games.
Mariota, the second overall pick of the 2015 NFL Draft has played under three head coaches in his five years with the Titans, and has had four different offensive coordinators, and five different play-callers. Maintaining his leadership role on the team as a captain, he said he’ll continue to grind with them and be ready if called upon.
“I think it is an opportunity for me to learn, and I am going to make the most of it,” Mariota said. “No matter what, each and every single day I am going to approach it with the mindset to learn. You have to be ready at any point and time. No matter what, I will prepare just as I have, and I’ll be ready to roll.”