Mariota Tired of Change, Seeks Stability With Raiders

David Boclair

Marcus Mariota experienced enough change during his five seasons with the Tennessee Titans. For his next move, he wanted to find a place where things would be the same for a while.

That’s what Mariota told Honolulu television station KHON-TV (Ch. 2) on Tuesday.

“I had two priorities that I had while I was going through this free agency process,” Mariota said, according to the report. “Number one was to find stability. I wanted to be a part of an organization that had a stable head coach, that had stability in the front office, and secondly for me, I wanted to be a part of a coaching staff that could bring out the best in me. That could embrace my talents and kind of put my best foot forward.”

It is an understandable mindset given that Mariota had three different head coaches and four offensive coordinators during his time with the Titans. Each change meant alterations to the offense and to what was expected of him.

Vegas’ head coach, Jon Gruden, is two years into a 10-year contract and is a proven winner having led Tampa Bay to the Super Bowl win in 2002. In 13 seasons as an NFL head coach, he has a winning record and nine playoff wins.

General manager Mike Mayock is in his second year on the job.

Mariota’s best season was his second (2016), when he set career-highs with 3,426 passing yards, 26 touchdown passes and a 95.6 passer rating. He led the Titans to a postseason appearance in 2017 but threw more interceptions (15) than touchdowns (13).

The biggest switch came in 2019 when Mariota lost his job as starting quarterback after six games.

Therein lies the interesting part of his quest for consistency. The best-case scenario for him with the Raiders is to force a change and convince coaches to play him over Derek Carr, who has been the starter throughout his six-year career.

“First and foremost, this is Derek’s team, and I understand that,” Mariota said. “I understand that going in. For me my priorities going into free agency was to be a part of a team that I felt could bring out the best in me and whatever happens, whatever comes to that, I’m ready for.

“But I do know that to play starting quarterback in the NFL, to be at that spot is not an easy job to do, and I think when it comes down to it, a strong, stable, supportive quarterback room makes that job a whole lot easier. That’s what we have to do. I’m going to do my best to support Derek in every possible way that I can and along with that I’m just going to try to become the best player that I can be and see where that takes me.”

Mariota agreed to a two-year, incentive-heavy deal with Las Vegas on the first day of the legal tampering period and finally signed the contract on Tuesday. The Hawaii native added that the opportunity to play relatively close home adds to the appeal of his new situation.

“Words can’t even express how excited, how happy we are as a family,” he said. “These last five years have been a blessing, no doubt. I think Nashville has treated us very well, but this is a great opportunity for us as. It’s an opportunity to be closer to home and also to be a part of a great organization.”