Mariota didn't use a knee brace during the team's OTA session Tuesday, but he has yet to make a decision whether or not he will wear it during the season, Terry McCormick of TitanInsider.com reports.
Mariota's availability isn't in question, but wearing a brace could hinder his mobility and output on the ground during the 2018 campaign. More information on that front should surface as the regular season nears, though the issue shouldn't have a large overall impact either way.
The predictable and logical move will keep the 2015 No. 2 overall pick under team control through the 2019 campaign. Per the report, the 24-year-old signal caller will be in line for a base salary of $20.9 million in 2019. Mariota is coming off a 2017 season in which he threw for 3,232 yards with 13 touchdowns and 15 picks in 15 games. It was a step back from his 2016 effort, which included a 26:9 TD:INT, but there's hope that Mariota's prospects will be bolstered by the Titans' hiring of offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur, who tends to rely heavily on play-action passing. Moreover, it's reasonable to expect improved production from promising wideout Corey Davis, who caught 34 passes for 375 yards in 11 games last season after being selected with the fifth overall pick last April.
Mariota's future outlook received a major boost with the hiring of offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur, according to Jason Wolf of the Tennessean.
LaFleur was hired for the same job that he held with the Rams this past season, but he'll also get offensive play-calling duties with Tennessee after ceding those to head coach Sean McVay in Los Angeles. Tennessee's willingness to part with head coach Mike Mularkey and his staff after the season despite reaching the divisional round in the playoffs suggests the franchise believes getting Mariota back on track is the key to the team's future success. The 24-year-old quarterback regressed overall this past season despite improved team success, but he led the league in passer rating (122.8) and yards per attempt (11.1) on play-action passes. It's no coincidence that LeFleur relied heavily on play-action passing in the past while tutoring Matt Ryan and Jared Goff.
The QB sustained the injury on a first-quarter run Saturday and the issue clearly had an impact on his ability to scramble, as well as avoid the Patriots' pass rush. Mariota, who was sacked eight times in the contest, ended up completing 22 of 37 passes for 254 yards and two TDs, while rushing four times for 37 yards. Mariota will now have the offseason to move past his current quad injury, as well as further distance himself from the hamstring, knee and shoulder woes that he contended with earlier in the 2017 campaign.
Mariota completed 19 of 31 passes for 205 yards, two touchdowns and an interception while adding a six-yard receiving score on a deflection and eight carries for 46 yards in Saturday's 22-21, wild-card round win at Kansas City.
Mariota executed a fantasy owner's biggest fantasy in the third quarter, as his pass was batted in the air by a defender and went right back into the quarterback's hands for what counted as both a passing and a receiving score from six yards out. That play ignited a previously dormant Tennessee offense, which erased a 21-3 halftime deficit. Mariota completed the comeback with a go-ahead, 22-yard strike to Eric Decker with 6:06 remaining. His will to win and ability to persevere through adversity don't always come across in the stat sheet, but those qualities have earned the third-year quarterback a trip to New England next week.
|Year||Team||G||Fum||Lost||Fum Forced||Own Rec||Opp Rec||Yds||Tot Rec||TD|