Mariota heading to Atlanta reunites the quarterback with head coach Arthur Smith, who was on the Titans’ offensive staff for all of Mariota’s tenure with the team. Smith was the tight ends coach from 2015-2018 before his promotion to offensive coordinator in 2019.
In an interview with Hawaii’s KHON this week, Mariota said that reuniting with Smith was a significant factor in his decision to head to Atlanta.
“Loyalty is very important to me,” Mariota said, via Rob DeMello of KHON. “It’s something that we all live off of here in Hawaii and Art has been somebody that’s been in my corner for a long time. And I appreciate everything he’s done for me. And I’m just excited. I’m excited for this opportunity, I’m excited to be a part of this organization. And just looking forward to getting out there.”
After he was benched for Ryan Tannehill on the Titans in 2019, Mariota spent the last two seasons with the Raiders. He appeared in only one game in 2020, but took several carries in 2021, scoring a rushing touchdown.
Mariota called being with the Raiders a “great reset” for his career.
“Obviously, being out there on the field, being out there and playing is what I want to do,” Mariota said. “But I kind of needed that in my career. Unfortunately with everything that happened in Tennessee, I was a little beat up — both mentally and physically. And to get that reset, to be a part of a great quarterback room in Vegas, really has kind of propelled me to this moment.”
The No. 2 pick of the 2015 draft, Mariota compiled a 29-32 record with Tennessee. He completed 63 percent of his passes for 13,207 yards with 76 touchdowns and 44 interceptions.