Now that the Tennessee Titans have made Marcus Mariota their franchise quarterback, it’ll be interesting to see how they use him. Will they incorporate some of Oregon’s offense into the playbook? Will they incorporate a lot of it? Or will they hope Mariota can develop into a mostly traditional NFL quarterback with a few wrinkles here and there?
“Well, I’ll be interested to see how it works out, really,” CBS NFL analyst Chris Simms said on CBS Sports Radio’s Gio and Jones. “I do think there’s going to be an adjustment period with Marcus Mariota. I won’t back down from that. He’s going to a guy in Ken Whisenhunt who’s done nothing but have traditional drop-back passing quarterbacks his whole career. He runs an offense that I’m kind of familiar with. It’s kind of similar to New England. It’s kind of similar to something my dad grew up in with the New York Giants. But it’s about throwing the ball down the field, too.
“So I think they’re going to have to find a nice blend because I think he’ll be the day-one starter,” Simms continued. “You’re not the No. 2 pick in the draft (if a team doesn’t plan on starting you). You’ll be given every chance to succeed, really. But they’re going to have to find a blend of incorporating some of that Oregon offense – or at least some passing scheme – that Marcus Mariota feels comfortable with, at least at first while he breaks into some of the other base schematical passing game-plan things that you’ll have to do as a quarterbacks in the NFL.”
Bryce Petty, meanwhile, was drafted in the fourth round – 101 picks after Mariota – by the New York Jets. What does this mean? It means that every franchise in the league passed on Petty at least once.
And maybe they shouldn’t have.
“I actually like Bryce Petty,” Simms said. “I thought he was a guy that might go in the second round at some point. You know he’s completely raw. That’s the one thing you heard from everybody you talked to in the NFL, and it’s the one thing you hear (about) anybody coming from Baylor right now – offensive linemen included. There’s an adjustment period.”
“But he’s a big guy,” Simms continued. “He’s 6-3, 230. He really can throw the ball down the field as good as anybody in the draft. That’s the one thing that jumped out to me when you turned on the Baylor film. It wasn’t a dink-and-dunk offense. I think I was expecting that a little bit more, but it was seams, it was goes, it was deep comebacks. I do think he has potential to be a starter in the NFL.”
As of now, Petty is a backup in New York along with Simms’ brother, Matt.
“They’re two kind of up-and-coming, talented guys,” Simms said. “But nonetheless, (Petty is) a good player.”
Asked about developing a quarterback in the NFL, Simms said many factors are crucial, but it all depends on the individual.
“Two things for success for young quarterbacks,” Simms said. “You got to put some talent around them. You got to make it happen not only for the organization and the coaching staff; you want that high, top-five quarterback to work out because it saves everybody in the building’s job when that works. With Tennessee, for instance, you can just look at it there. They could have drafted Leonard Williams at No. 2, and he could have been the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year and they could have gone 9-7 and missed the playoffs. Ken Whisenhunt might have gotten fired. But if you draft Marcus Mariota and go 3-13, (you can say you’ve got the franchise quarterback and you’re okay.)
“But you got to have talent around them, and you got to play them,” Simms continued. “It’s the hardest position in sports, and it’s the hardest position in sports to really practice. Because until you’re out there in that environment with 70,000 fans and all the 6-5, 290 people are actually trying to rip your head off, you’re not going to really get a true grasp of what’s going on.”