Titans' Vrabel explains benching Mariota for Tannehill, doesn't rule out a reversal later in 2019

The 2-4 Tennessee Titans are making a change at quarterback in hopes that the switch will get this season back on track. 

On Tuesday night, NFL Network's Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero reported that Marcus Mariota, who was benched during the Titans' Week 6 loss to the Denver Broncoswill remain on the bench for Tennessee's Week 7 game against the Los Angeles Chargers

Former Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill is now the new starter, and head coach Vrabel is hoping that the veteran will bring some stability to the offense. Still, the Titans' problems go much deeper than the quarterback position, and Vrabel seemed to acknowledge this when confirming the news of Mariota's benching to the media on Wednesday.

"We're trying to get a little spark, trying to evaluate what we're doing and how we're functioning as an offense," said Vrabel. "It just felt like now was the time, and sitting at that game, sitting where I was -- made the decision during the game and then was just able to think about it, evaluate it and make a decision to try to spark the offense, to try to do something to get us going, to score some points and to help us win."

Mariota has been sacked 25 times so far this season, which is tied with Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston for most in the league. Bringing Tannehill in the game last Sunday didn't fix the offensive line problem for the Titans, as he was sacked four times in just a quarter and a half. 

Vrabel says he's frustrated with the job he's done through six games when it comes to getting his team prepared each week. While the change under center is a big decision, Vrabel is confident Mariota will still be a big part of the team when it comes to serving as a leader and helping Tannehill prepare for future games.

"You have to look at the body of work and really just try to evaluate how we want to try to function, the passes that we need to complete, the operation, getting the entire offense," said Vrabel. "To be able to function, score points, move the field, convert third downs -- and I'm very confident after having talked to Marcus and watched him prepare already today that if called upon at some point in time, we expect him to be ready to go." 

When asked if he would leave the door open for Mariota to start again this season, Vrabel admitted he could end up going back on his decision. 

"I'm not ruling anything out," he said. 

The former No. 2 overall pick is in his fifth season and clearly, questions still remain if he's the future at quarterback for Tennessee. He's had to battle through both inconsistent play as well as injuries during his short career, which is why the Titans went out and traded for Tannehill this offseason. The Titans' 2018 backup quarterback, Blaine Gabbert, was forced into the spotlight in a Week 17 win-or-go-home situation and failed to get the job done, and general manager Jon Robinson made it a point to never to find himself in that situation again. 

If Tannehill can quickly find success with the Titans, it's possible that Mariota has started his last game as a Titan. 

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