The Buccaneers play the Titans on Sunday, but the matchup isn’t quite what was expected when those teams chose quarterbacks Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota first and second overall in the 2015 NFL draft.
Winston has not played particularly well this season in Tampa Bay, and Mariota has played so poorly that he’s been benched for Ryan Tannehill. That puts Mariota in an awkward position, on the scout team.
Titans coach Mike Vrabel said Mariota is running the scout team in Titans practice this week, according to Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times. That means Mariota’s job is to play like Winston to help the Titans’ defense prepare.
Both players are a far cry from where they were expected to be when they were drafted. The Buccaneers look increasingly likely to let Winston walk in free agency next offseason, and the Titans are even more likely to let Mariota go, given that he’s not even their starter anymore.
When Mariota is playing the Winston part, he’s playing the part of a disappointing quarterback. That’s a role he knows well.