Benching Marcus Mariota for Ryan Tannehill was key to Titans’ turnaround

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The Titans could own a share of first place in the AFC South on Sunday. That would have seemed impossible six weeks ago.

That’s because Tennessee got off to a 2-4 start this season behind starting quarterback Marcus Mariota. Only when they benched Mariota for Tannehill did the season start to turn around.

The difference between the Titans’ numbers with Mariota starting and with Tannehill starting are remarkable. Here are a few of them.

The Titans are 2-4 in Mariota’s starts and 4-1 in Tannehill’s starts.

The Titans averaged 16 points a game in Mariota’s starts and 29 points a game in Tannehill’s starts.

The Titans averaged 291 yards a game in Mariota’s starts and 384 yards a game in Tannehill’s starts.

The Titans averaged 188 passing yards a game in Mariota’s starts and 238 passing yards in Tannehill’s starts.

Mariota averaged 7.4 yards per pass and had a 59.1 percent completion rate. Tannehill averages 9.2 yards per pass and has a 72.1 percent completion rate.

The Titans’ 4-1 run has them within striking distance in the division. They’re now tied for second with the 6-5 Colts, a game behind the 7-4 Texans. If the Titans beat the Colts on Sunday and the Texans lose to the Patriots, Tennessee will move into a tie for the division lead. The Texans and Titans play each other in Tennessee in Week 15 and then in Houston in Week 17, so this division race remains wide open.

If the Titans win the AFC South, Mike Vrabel will deserve some credit for changing quarterbacks when he did. But it’s also fair to wonder what took him so long. Tannehill was far better than Mariota in the preseason, and some of us asked at the time whether the Titans should bench Mariota for Tannehill. Waiting until six games into the season may end up costing the Titans the division.

31 responses to “Benching Marcus Mariota for Ryan Tannehill was key to Titans’ turnaround

  1. Doesn’t surprise me.

    RT17 has been a consistent QB when healthy.

    Not his fault Miami was a mess. Plenty Dolphins fans are rooting for him.

    Plenty aren’t……..the bitter ones.

    He struggled in NE. Who hasn’t? He owned Brady/Belichek in Miami. Not many people can hold serve against that franchise. One dirty hit by Calais Campbell changed his career.

  2. Musical chair quarterbacks in the off-season…Mariota, Cam NEwton, Jameis Winston, Trubisky, Eli Manning, Gardner Minshew…where will they all land?

  3. What of, could of, should of, Michael please do some research and know what coaching is about. Remember Tannehill was no sure thing. He was a bust in Miami. Its worked out well for Tannehill now because he’s looking for a contract. That’s the only way QB play will improve in the NFL, all these QB’s should be one year deals, prove it…eat what you kill. In the business world its the equivalent of commission only pay.

  4. A lot of frustration of a lot of these QB’s is that they can’t move the chains. Scoring every time out is very hard. But moving the chains and keeping the opponents away from the ball is the most essential skill a QB needs to have.

  5. Mariota playing poorly is not a surprise. Tannehill leading them this well is a surprise. I guess Miami was just that abysmal?

  6. Tannehill has always been pretty good so it isn’t really a shock for anyone who paid attention. Health and the Dophins (where QBs go to die) were the two very big reasons most people never gave Tannehill credit – but he did a commendable job.

    Mariota and Winston were really hyped up in the draft with some “experts” saying they were can’t miss prospects. The reality is neither has been very good and fans of both teams kept saying, “give them just one more year.”

    Now it is 4/5 years later and both aren’t good. See how “just one more year” adds up? Two maybe three years tops, if a young QB still is struggling there is no reason not to move on.

  7. I’ve always liked RT, he never had a chance in Miami with no OL and Gase the clown as HC.
    Gase would not allow him to use plays he was comfortable with and not allow him to call audibles. He was set up for failure in Miami.

  8. I had no idea that Mariiota was at the Sanchez level of awfulness. When Tannehill makes you look bad, you are one awful QB (no offense to Tannehill).

  9. Giants fan here……From a distance….Mike Vrabel seems to be good HC…maybe a great one someday.

    Any opinions/assessments from Titans fans?

  10. They ruined Mariota during his early years by having him run that exotic smashmouth offense which was great for the RBs but did nothing but get a developping QB hit repeatedly. The coaches are long gone but the wear and tear on Mariota remains.

  11. I think Mariota needs a change of scenery and clipboard going forward. His 5th year already and many Mariota supporters/enablers have said the root cause of his play was upheaval with the number of head coaches and offensive coordinators with the Titans. Tannehill is running the same offense with the same players. The logical conclusion is that Mariota is the root cause of the offensive struggles and his inconsistent play has affected the win/lose record. The Titans organization recognized it in the off-season and got Tannehill. Tannehill needs to keep this going.

  12. “Remember Tannehill was no sure thing. He was a bust in Miami.”

    He was a “bust” largely because the Fins never put anything but a horrible Oline in front of him. Even guys like Brady, Brees and Rodgers would have struggled mightily with the crap Olines Miami has had many years.

    The games where he had some semblance of a good Oline Tannehill played well for the Fins. Always amazes me these so called football guys will use a high pick or trade a lot for a 1st round QB and then do nothing to protect them and scratch their heads later wondering why the QB didn’t work out.

  13. “Its worked out well for Tannehill now because he’s looking for a contract. That’s the only way QB play will improve in the NFL, all these QB’s should be one year deals, prove it…eat what you kill. In the business world its the equivalent of commission only pay.”

    The only way NFL quarterback play will improve? Wow, we better fire all of the QB coaches and eliminate all QB practice time. After all, those things do nothing to improve quarterbacks. If NFL experts had only known that one year contracts were the only way to better QB play a lot of expense and effort could have been avoided.

  14. I hope the Bears take note. The gm better bring in an experienced Qb to push Trubisky and/or replace him. It’s year three and he looks like he doesn’t have “it”. The Bears defense is to good to waste. The offense’s three and outs are killing them.

  15. He didn’t outplay Mariota in the pre season. When 1 player has 1 or 2 drives and the other gets 5 or 6 you can’t compare them and say he outplayed him. Mariota outplayed him in practice too.

  16. “I hope the Bears take note. The gm better bring in an experienced Qb to push Trubisky and/or replace him. It’s year three and he looks like he doesn’t have “it”. The Bears defense is to good to waste. The offense’s three and outs are killing them.”

    Apparently you missed the game two days ago.

  17. finzfan49 says:
    November 30, 2019 at 9:31 am

    I’ve always liked RT, he never had a chance in Miami with no OL and Gase the clown as HC.
    Gase would not allow him to use plays he was comfortable with and not allow him to call audibles. He was set up for failure in Miami.

    ———————————

    Dead on! I never understood why Gase had to have so much control over the offense. Tannehill is the kind of quarterback who can win you games if you put good players around him. He has a strong arm, he can run and I don’t see many quarterbacks who throw with accuracy as well as he does. He was never as bad as non Dolphins fans think he is.

  18. “Mariota averaged 7.4 yards per pass and had a 59.1 percent completion rate. Tannehill averages 9.2 yards per pass and has a 72.1 percent completion rate.”
    Stop the fight. It is over. No need to continue to pound on.

  19. The many people who trash Ryan Tannehill are funny. Big, fast, athletic, strong arm – mock away! Ask me in 2015 or right now, who’s better, Marcus Mariota or Ryan Tannehill? The same answer always, without hesitation – go Tannehill, go Titans!!

  20. The short lived Chip Kelly Experience in Philadelphia could have been worse. He actively tried to trade anything you wanted to be able to draft his former Oregon QB Mariotta. He made numerous statements that this was the BEST player in the draft and he would lead the Eagles for years. Good luck wherever you end up.

  21. If you bash Tannehill it’s probably because you are still learning about football and how it works. The offensive line, receivers, rbs, tight ends, and coaches have to work well together. When the 2 head coaches you’ve had are terrible it makes it impossible. Brees has Payton and Brady has BB. Tannehill had trash, just mention the name Joe Philbin and Adam Gase and watch someone’s eyes fall to the floor in disappointment. I don’t know any qb that could survive those two.

  22. Steve Young failed in Tampa with a terrible team and terrible coaching staff. Got traded and succeeded in a system that he was comfortable with….even with 2 different coaches.

    Rich Gannon failed with several teams for a dozen years before finding Gruden and the Raiders system. He succeeded finally. Right system and right Coach makes a difference.

    So why is it so hard for some of you to understand that Tannehill is succeeding because he feels comfortable? Instead you are projecting the Miami failure and you keep waiting for him to suddenly become uncomfortable and fail? Don’t hold your breath.

  23. Desean Watson is special. Jacoby Brisset is good. Tannehill may lie somewhere between them but trying to improve and overcome the Miami Dolphins stigma. Sometimes it just takes time.
    We’ll see where he is after this weekend because this is a pressure game for both teams and both quarterbacks. One will fail….and one will succeed and be elevated to winner status.

  24. cardinealsfan20 says:
    November 30, 2019 at 10:50 am
    “I hope the Bears take note. The gm better bring in an experienced Qb to push Trubisky and/or replace him. It’s year three and he looks like he doesn’t have “it”. The Bears defense is to good to waste. The offense’s three and outs are killing them.”

    Apparently you missed the game two days ago.
    _____________________________________

    You mean that game they played Thursday against a HS team with no D and a 3rd string QB?

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