Reality came quickly for Marcus Mariota, as the former second pick overall was benched Sunday for Ryan Tannehill. His tenure as the starting quarterback of the Tennessee Titans seems to have come to an end after four seasons and change.
Mariota’s story should serve as a warning for Mitch Trubisky who, for better of worse, has eleven games to show the Chicago Bears if he’s the quarterback of their future. If the Bears are smart, they won’t wait any longer than that, or waste any more time, to make their judgment about the most position in all of sports.
Like Trubisky, Mariota was expected to make a big leap in his third season, after throwing 26 touchdowns in his second. He was expected to become the franchise quarterback nearly everyone – which included Ryan Pace – thought he was destined to be.
But Mariota never took off. His third season was a bust with (13 TDs/15 INTs). His fourth season showed some promise (11/8), but included numerous injuries and ultimately most of his success came running the football. The most complimentary way to describe his start to 2019 was ineffective.
Perhaps Mariota will rebound, most likely somewhere else? History tells us he won’t.
Bears receivers have dropped 7.5% of Trubisky’s passes, the highest rate in the league.
They average just 4.3 yards per catch, the third-lowest total in the league.
Trubisky has been pressured at a higher rate than any quarterback with 100 or more passing attempts.
(Their running game is also, well, pathetic.)
The numbers are damning, and they certainly tell the story of the Bears offense, but they don’t explain Trubisky’s performance. Football is about more than numbers. Sometimes you have to actually watch the games. Trubisky has been shaky, with very few above average plays this season.
Any potential quarterback controversy died before it really got started. Chase Daniel made two inexcusable mistakes that cost the game against the Raiders. But Daniel is a career backup journeyman and it isn’t a stretch to say he made more big plays in his two games than Trubisky did in the three prior. One can’t help but wonder how the offense would’ve looked if it was an actual NFL-caliber STARTING quarterback replacing Trubisky. The Titans couldn’t move on from Mariota any sooner because they had Blaine Gabbert backing him up. The Bears are in a similar position with Daniel, but they can’t let that be the case next year if Trubisky struggles as Mariota did in his third season.
Trubisky has the talent and we’ve seen flashes of brilliance; flashes that at one point or another have made us think taking him over Deshaun Watson and Patrick Mahomes wasn’t as big of a mistake as it looks to be. There is little question about whether or not Trubisky can be the team’s franchise quarterback. It’s just a matter of doing it.
The Titans took Mariota’s pen away. Trubisky still has eleven games to write his story in Chicago. Eleven games to show us and the team that he’s the guy. Eleven games to define his career.