On set shooting a commercial for Island Insurance Monday morning, Marcus Mariota graded his acting skills as a 70 out of 100. Four weeks away from the start of training camp, the Tennessee Titans quarterback graded his health much higher.
“I feel great. I’m pretty close to 100%," Mariota said. "I got cleared to do everything I need to do to get ready, so my body feels good.”
While Mariota has been rehabbing his broken leg suffered on Christmas Eve, the Titans front office has been piecing together a roster that was named the third best in the league by Pro Football Focus, behind only the New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons.
"The amount of talent we have around this team now is incredible," said Mariota. "To add pieces here and there, to bring guys in, says a lot about our management and how they’ve done and how they’ve handled themselves. I think they’ve done a great job bringing in the right guys. Everyone at this level has talent, but it’s tough to find guys that fit the culture that Jon Robinson and Coach Mularkey are building.“
As Mariota enters year three of his NFL career, the biggest stride he wants to make is the consistency in his game. He showed flashes of brilliance last season, even being named AFC Offensive Player of the Month in November. Combine that with the addition of veteran wide receiver Eric Decker, three receivers taken in April's draft and a re-tooled offensive line, the Titans are a popular pick to win the AFC South for the first time since 2008.
"All that stuff that people talk about, it doesn’t mean anything until we go out there and prove it on the field," Mariota said. "We have to continue to fight and to work. Our goal is to go out there and win our division, get in the playoffs, and make a run at the Super Bowl. It’s going to be tough, I think our division has really grown, even this off-season. Those games are never easy and I’m really looking forward to the challenge. I think we’ll be up to it.”
If Mariota can lead the Titans back to the postseason and continue his upward arc, a massive contract looms for the 2014 Heisman Trophy winner. Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr recently signed a five-year, $125 million dollar contract that will be the bar when Mariota is up for a new deal in two years.
“I can’t think about next season or the season after that. I have to focus on our first game and continuing to be the best guy I can be for the team. If all of those things happen and things go right and that contract is up, I’d love to be in Nashville. The Titans are such a great organization that it would be a lot of fun to play for them for a long time.”
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