After a rough outing from Marcus Mariota — which resulted in the former No. 2 overall draft pick being benched in the second half of their 16-0 loss to the Denver Broncos — on Sunday, the Titans are planning to start Tannehill on Sunday for their matchup against the Los Angeles Chargers, according to the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.
The #Titans are making a QB change. Ryan Tannehill has been informed he’ll get the start Sunday against the #Chargers, sources tell me and @TomPelissero. Former No. 2 overall pick Marcus Mariota goes to the bench.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) October 16, 2019
Mariota, who has been the unquestioned starter in Tennessee throughout nearly his entire career in the NFL, struggled early Sunday. He went 7-of-18 for 63 yards and threw two interceptions. Titans coach Mike Vrabel then made the switch in the second half to Tannehill. He wasn’t great, either, but he performed better than Mariota.
Tannehill finished 13-of-16 for 144 yards with one interception, and led the Titans into the red zone on multiple occasions. Vrabel is ready to see what the 31-year-old can do with a full game.
Tannehill signed a one-year deal with the Titans this offseason to facilitate a trade, which sent the Miami Dolphins a pair of draft picks. He compiled a 42-46 record as a starter over six seasons in Miami, and hit more than 4,000 passing yards twice.
Though he started the season as a backup, Tannehill still knows he can get the job done.
“I have a ton of confidence in myself,” Tannehill said, via ESPN. “You have to, to play this position. I believe in myself a whole lot.”
While he has had a few big games, Mariota has struggled in Tennessee this season — especially in his past two outings. He went 13-of-22 for 183 yards in the Titans’ loss to the Buffalo Bills before the rough Denver loss, and was sacked five times. The former Oregon standout does have a playoff win under his belt in Tennessee, though has not led the Titans to a season better than 9-7.
Mariota is in the option year of his initial rookie contract, too. He sounded confident after the loss Sunday, but Tannehill is capable of holding down a starting job, given his history. If he can maintain that spot through the end of the season, Mariota could be one of two top quarterbacks from the 2015 draft searching for a new home this offseason.
“Things happen for a reason,” Mariota said Sunday. “I truly believe that. I can learn from this. I’m going to grow from this and I’ll become a better player.”
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