It’s been years since Mariota had a QB1 title, losing that job with the Titans to Ryan Tannehill in 2019. But after spending the last two seasons with the Raiders, he’s been reunited with head coach Arthur Smith — who was his offensive coordinator in Tennessee.
While Mariota is replacing Ryan, Smith said Thursday that he doesn’t want Mariota to feel like he has to do anything outside of himself in his role as a quarterback.
“He’s his own guy. That’s what you like about certain players, but he’s authentic,” Smith said. “He is who he is. He doesn’t try to be anybody. We’re not asking him to come in here and be Matt Ryan or to be Peyton Manning. Be Marcus Mariota. That’s what we want.
“He’s also – I think everybody when you get another shot at something, there’s lessons learned and they’re hard lessons but if you take them the right way, you’re more appreciative of the opportunity. It’s been fun being around him again, not just as a player but as a person. He’s one of those people you enjoy being around and he’s doing a good job right now with what we’re asking him to.”
Mariota will have his share of challenges in the upcoming year. But he does have an opportunity to show that he can once again be a franchise quarterback for a team that needs to replace one.