Pete Carroll praises Marcus Mariota’s ability in red zone

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“It’s all about the ball” is one of Pete Carroll’s core coaching beliefs.

Carroll believes that turnover margin is one of the biggest indicators toward which teams win games and which teams lose them over the long haul.

With that in mind, it’s no surprise Carroll would be a fan of Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota.

“His red zone numbers are like phenomenal as far as touchdowns and turnovers and all that,” Carroll said on Wednesday. “That is a really good sign for what you have. The guy has a great conscience, a great awareness, in the most difficult area to throw the football, he is really good at it. He is really efficient, so I think it bodes really well for him. He is going to have a longtime career, I don’t think there is anything to hold him back.”

Mariota has a 46-to-20 touchdown to interception ratio in just over two seasons as Tennessee’s starting quarterback. However, his numbers when the Titans get down near the end zone are even more impressive. According to Pro Football Reference, Mariota has completed 62 percent of his passes with 33 touchdowns and no interceptions in the red zone. He has a passer rating of 112.7 inside the opponent’s 20-yard line.

“He is just going to continue to get better,” Carroll said. “I’ve tried to show you how Russell (Wilson) continues to improve and see and do more things and all that that happens with the young quarterbacks. He is going to be really good.”

Add in Mariota’s ability to factor in the running game as well and Carroll knows the Seahawks have a stern test facing them this weekend.

“It’s hard, it’s very challenging,” Carroll said of the Titans’ running game. Those guys (DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry) are both terrific runners; they can run inside and outside, they’re physical runners, they have style, they make big runs and all of that. With Mariota’s ability to add to that, it makes it as complex as you can get. It’s a big challenge for our guys to play right, they’re working really hard this whole week to be disciplined and really on point, so we’re making all of our fits right and all of that. Those guys make it very difficult.”