Mike Vrabel benched Marcus Mariota against the Broncos, and the former No. 2 overall pick will stay as the backup for at least one more game. This is obviously a key move for a Titans team that has Mariota in a contract year. Mariota, 25, and Jameis Winston are the first quarterbacks to play a season on a fifth-year option; neither has done much to justify an extension in 2019.
Mariota threw three touchdown passes against the Falcons’ bottom-end defense in Week 4 but has struggled for the better part of the past three seasons. After throwing 26 TD passes in 2016, the Oregon alum has just 21 in his past 35 games. He posted a 50.6 QBR figure in 2018 but exits the Titans’ starting lineup with a 30.8 number — 29th out of 30 qualified quarterbacks.
Tannehill will return to a starting lineup for the first time since Week 17 of last season. The former Dolphins first-rounder, taken three years before the Titans’ Mariota investment, came to Tennessee via trade. Speculated to be a threat to Mariota’s job upon arrival, Tannehill will attempt to stop a Titans skid. The Titans have scored just seven points since their Week 4 win in Atlanta.
Tannehil, 31, fared better than Mariota in Denver, completing 13 of 16 passes for 144 yards in Tennessee’s shutout loss. He did not live up to the Dolphins’ expectations, seeing knee problems play a key role in his Miami exit, but will have another chance to prove himself. The Dolphins agreed to adjust Tannehill’s contract, as a result making this a contract year for the longtime starter. Tannehill is now in a contract year as well.
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