Marcus Mariota 'essentially flawless' in Titans camp


One of the most interesting NFL storylines of the summer is how quickly Marcus Mariota has dispelled the notion that he will be a developmental project for the Tennessee Titans.

On the heels of an impressive offseason performance that left teammates and coaches raving about his accuracy, instincts and command of the huddle, Mariota has engendered even more excitement early in training camp.

While the hype surrounding Mariota's string of practices without an interception is meaningless without context, there are several legitimate reasons to believe Mariota is a more advanced prospect than he was initially billed.

Reporting onsite from Nashville, NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport told Inside Training Camp Live Friday that Mariota has enjoyed "essentially a flawless performance" in camp.

Mariota is actually years ahead of expectations, Rapoport explained, after speaking with Titans sources. The former Oregon star has received high marks for his leadership, mental acuity and ability to pick up the playbook quickly.

"It is simply his team," Rapoport continued, adding that the team has taken on a quiet confidence that they will better than people around the league are projecting.

Rapoport's intel jibes with that of NFL Media analyst Kurt Warner, who recently noted that coach Ken Whisenhunt is "extremely impressed" with Mariota's progress to date.

Asked by NFL Preseason HQ's Matt "Money" Smith about Mariota's transition from a college spread attack to commanding an NFL huddle, Titans play-by-play announcer Mike Keith extolled, "It's stunning that he has had no problems in that way. That is one of the things that has stood out the most. His poise, his command -- he's not looked like a rookie."

Mariota's promise has understandably inspired a long-awaited wave of optimism in Tennessee.

"There is excitement because people have seen on the field what he and these guys can do," Whisenhunt told's Don Banks this week. "You can see it from the fans and even in the media. They want to be excited about something, and in little small areas, we've given them something to be excited about."

The NFL's most anonymous team a year ago could be one of the most fun to watch in 2015.

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