It's a new year, a new organization, a new city, but more importantly a new opportunity for Marcus Mariota to make a name for himself in the NFL.
The former Oregon Ducks star quarterback, Heisman Trophy winner and No. 2 overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft has had a roller coaster of an NFL career to say the least. From leading the Tennessee Titans to an AFC Wild Card win in the 2017 playoffs and throwing himself a touchdown pass to getting benched behind now starter Ryan Tannnehill, Mariota's time in Tennessee was certainly shaky.
Now, the page has turned and a new chapter with the new Las Vegas Raiders is exactly the opportunity Mariota needs.
Raiders QB Marcus Mariota named second-best backup quarterback in NFL https://t.co/Pi3No41ZHb— Raiders Wire (@TheRaidersWire) August 28, 2020
Las Vegas third-year head coach Jon Gruden has had his eye on Mariota for quite awhile now too.
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From a few Oregon Duck legends to the next, former head coach Mike Bellotti and quarterback Joey Harrington are eager to see what Mariota can do in Gruden's offense.
The two are the latest guests on the Talkin' Ducks Podcast with host Jordan Kent:
He doesn't have to be ‘the guy.' He's come in with this new mentality of ‘I'm just going to get back to playing.' And like the reports you're hearing, Jordan, I think it's going to pay off and I think this is going to be a great reset for Marcus in Vegas. - Joey Harrington
He just needs to relax, play and have fun. We wouldn't talk before a game about don't stress about this… You play in that zone where you're comfortable and having fun… I think Gruden commented just yesterday how excellent Marcus was in practice. He's regained some of his athleticism, he's recuperated from some of those problems with his shoulders and just getting beat up with the coaching carousel that he had to go through. He has the physical ability to make plays. I'm excited for him and his opportunity. - Mike Bellotti
Mariota was never given the proper chance to showcase what he can bring to an offense in Nashville. There were glimpses of the ‘Flying' Hawaiian' that would come to the surface only to be soon smothered because of yet another coaching change or poor offensive line protections. Mariota battled injury after injury, but is finally healthy once again.
And that's a scary thought and sight for Raiders six-year starting quarterback Derek Carr, whose seat is getting really hot and not just from the Las Vegas sunshine.
This will be quite the quarterback battle to keep an eye on. With no NFL preseason games, Mariota will have to continue to wait for his moment. But as Harrington said above, he doesn't have to be ‘the guy.' There is no pressure on Mariota. He is free. He is healthy. He is motivated.
You can listen to the full Talkin' Ducks Podcast here.