Marcus Mariota to play lighter, despite team’s instructions

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Titans coaches had suggested to Marcus Mariota in the past that they wanted him to weigh between 225 and 230 pounds, in order to protect himself from hits.

But he’s coming to camp well under that goal, in hopes of avoiding them.

According to Paul Kuharsky of The Midday 180 in Nashville, Mariota’s personal trainer said he’s going to report around 215 pounds in hopes of being more mobile this season. He has been listed at 222 the last two years.

“I have always told Marcus that I thought he should play at 215 pounds because I felt like he was the fastest at that weight,” said Ryan Flaherty, the senior director of performance at Nike. “The No. 1 injury QBs suffer in the NFL is AC sprain and that’s from getting hit.

“I told him that they can’t hit what they can’t catch so he should think about playing at a weight where he is his fastest. However the Titans coaches always told him they wanted him heavier and to play around 225-230 pounds to be able to absorb hits. Finally this year Marcus agrees with me and will play at 215 and I think you’ll notice a huge difference even though it’s only a difference of 10 pounds. He will be much quicker and faster this year and the goal with that will be to take less hits which will in turn keep him healthy. Unfortunately the first 2 years he’s missed games because of contact injuries so I think with him being leaner and lighter he will reduce the number of hits and thus reduce the risk of injury.”

Of course, the Titans might not be wild about their suggestions being ignored, but they’d obviously rather have Mariota available. Their playoff chances and his season ended with a broken ankle on Dec. 24, and with their additions this offseason have them positioned to improve.

Flaherty has worked with Mariota since prior to the 2015 Combine, and concentrated on preventing injuries after knee problems cost Mariota four games in 2015. And for what it’s worth, he said Mariota will be ready to participate fully when camp opens next week, after they took a cautious approach with him this offseason.

18 responses to “Marcus Mariota to play lighter, despite team’s instructions

  1. I completely agree he isn’t ever going to be cam so why have him bulk up? The best thing about Marcus is that he might be the best running QB in the league but we don’t see him used that way. Cam ran the ball 90 times for 350 yards and Marcus did 60 for 340 so the skill is clearly there. His biggest weakness has been health which is somewhat out of his hands, however other than Walker he has never had a legitimate target to throw to so I expect a big year if he is healthy.

  2. This is the first thing that Mariota’s done that’s given me pause. Being lighter might be the smartest route to go. Might. But he is literally blowing off his coaching staff’s instructions here in favor of a single trainer he’s worked with longer.

    I’m sure he’s thinking about how his leg was broken. Mariota was beginning to outrun his pursuit when the d-lineman came down on his lower leg.

    But like I said, the lack of submission to his leaders here give’s me pause.

  3. Interesting…. so as long as he’s so quick he gets sacked 0 times…. he’ll be injury free.

    I see another shortened season on the horizon.

  4. No one knows your body like you do. If he feels the most comfortable at 215 that’s what he should play at. I get what the coaches are trying to do, but if he feels sluggish at 225/230 that’s not good either. Ryan really helped Marcus with the the ACL issues last off season, so at least we didn’t see that again.

  5. He’s a smart young man. Who cares what the team thinks. He wont be any stronger if he’s ten pounds heavier. It always cracks me up when they tell a DT to go from 300 to 340. Why? It’s 5 pounds more muscle and 35 pounds of fat.

    We are the way God made us. If a guy is too skinny or too fat, you have him at the wrong position. In other words, don’t put a WR at RB. As a matter of fact, that is probably why Jamal Charles is so often injured. Just too thin. He’s great, but built more like a slot WR.

  6. How does lightening up help you in this instance? He’s already a lanky guy, so this invites chances for even more injury that has already shortened his first 2 seasons. Running quarterbacks, even when they’re big like Cam Newton, don’t last that long in this league if you try to make that more of the focal point of your game. Bulking up would have made more sense to take the pounding from the pocket.

  7. In context this is the smartest move for this season, since he’s coming off a broken ankle. He should not put extra weight on that so soon, and it’ll behoove him to remain light to avoid reinjuring it. I’ll bet he bulks up for the 2018 season barring another leg/ankle/foot injury. He may just be being prudent for now.

  8. Great, not only is Nike screwing up uniforms, now they’re giving players advice that contradicts what the coaches want. I’m sure that will go over really well with teams everywhere.

  9. 225-230 looks better in the media guide, but my sense is that Marcus is simply healthier and more athletic at 215. Those extra pounds will slow you down more than they will help you “absorb” hits.

  10. Is there any evidence that being fatter helps a QB avoid injury? Because if you are asking a guy way beyond puberty to add weight in a short period of time you are either asking him to add fat or risk a 4 game suspension.

  11. bluecat013 says:
    Jul 21, 2017 3:17 PM
    Great, not only is Nike screwing up uniforms, now they’re giving players advice that contradicts what the coaches want. I’m sure that will go over really well with teams everywhere.
    It might not go over well with “old school” people who hate science and modern health, but I’d be willing to bet the Nike guys know more about physical health and athletic performance than coaches that offer advice that sounds like it’s from 1950s Pop Warner and not modern professional athletics.

  12. He is 6’4″ tall, the same as Tom Brady. Tom Brady is listed at 225lbs. Brady is more of a running threat than he has ever been and chose it can absorb hits as well as any quarterback in the league. Why wouldn’t Mariota wonder absorb hits as well as Brady?

    Even if 10lbs lighter, he probably wouldn’t want to avoid elite pass rushers coming straight at him as that is about footwork and pocket presence, plus preparing the body to absorb a hit, not straight-line speed.

    I would guess the Titans coaches would want him to be more of a pocket passer and not a dual-thread running quarterback as that led to injuries to RG3, Cam Newton and perceived limitations in Kaepernick’s game. Maybe becoming a quarterback who can extend plays with his legs like Russell Wilson and Aaron Rodgers, neither of whom are particularly liked for their heights, would be the aim.

  13. genericcommenter ,

    There is ample evidence in football that the bigger guys tend to take a licking better than the smaller guys. That’s kind of physics, and there is nowhere in football that a player is a sitting duck more than at QB. It’s why the big, strong QB is the prototype. It’s not like people are just discriminating against the smaller guys for the fun of it. Getting hit by 300+ pound men repeatedly over a season would kind of lead one to that conclusion. Plus, losing the weight to run faster? Just seems like a short sighted move all the way around considering his injury history already so far in his brief career.

  14. Let the guy make decisions about his own body. Just because a guy has the title of “coach”, doesn’t mean he knows best… especially considering the rate in which they get replaced.

    Marcus is a smart guy. He focuses on football and doesn’t make noise outside the game.

    Everybody is different; every body is different.

  15. He’s listed at 6’4″.

    I’d say 215 is too slim for any football player with that height.

    When Raiders drafted McFadden we all laughed when the haters talked about his skinny legs. Then he had nothing but leg and ankle problems. And last year he rushed for 87 yds.

    Alfred Morris is twice the RB McFadden ever was – not that either of them will be seeing much action in 2017 barring injury.

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