2017 Grade: .577
2017 3rd Down: .229
Week 1 vs. Oakland: Mariota had more highlight plays than he did misses – the surest fire way to land a good grade. He was precise, created yardage with his legs both by running and setting up to throw, and threaded some tight needles. He was excellent on third down, registering 10 points on 10 drop backs. The most impressive part of his game is his eye discipline. The combination of holding a safety with his eyes, the quick release and the big arm make these 20-yard dig routes extremely difficult to defend.
Week 2 vs. Jacksonville: After scoring just seven points on his first 18 drop backs, Mariota flipped a switch. His final nine drop backs netted 13 points with four gorgeous downfield dimes. He continues to be one of the best in the business at manipulating defenses with his eyes. His issue remains accuracy, which is something that rarely improves, but he makes up for it in other areas (athleticism, release and anticipation.) The two GIFs are the Jekyll and Hyde of Mariota. Poor accuracy and read on one, terrific eye discipline on the other.
Week 3 vs. Seattle: Tennessee’s defense, ground game, and screen-passing-game did the heavy lifting in the victory over Seattle. Credit Mariota for throwing accurate passes in the underneath areas, making plays with his legs, and not making any poor decisions throughout the course of the game. This formula, with the addition of Mariota’s play-making skill set, makes the Titans a dangerous team.
Week 4 at Houston: The same inconsistencies in mechanics that plagued Mariota in 2016, showed up in this game. Throwing from a stiff base forces his arm into awkward positions, like the GIF below, causing the ball to sail on him. Still, his explosive running ability, and live arm when the mechanics are correct, could make him the most electrifying player in the game someday — he’s just still not there yet.
Week 6 vs. Indianapolis: Marcus Mariota is that starting pitcher that gives up a couple of runs in the first inning, then shuts the opposition down for eight consecutive innings. He has flaws in his game that lead to stretches of bad play but, when he’s on, he’s as deadly as anyone. The touchdown throw to Tywan Taylor, and the third quarter corner-route to Eric Decker were both things of beauty. The GIF below is a clear mis-read by Mariota.