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Mariota unflappable despite headset malfunction

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Marcus Mariota displays a bounty of positive traits on the football field. Perhaps the best attribute the Tennessee Titans rookie quarterback deploys is poise under duress.

The unflappable rookie dealt not only with a fierce St. Louis Rams pass rush in Sunday night's 27-14 victory, he also had his coach-to-quarterback communication device malfunction two plays into the game.

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The issue didn't ruffle the rookie.

"After the first two plays, I kind of went out and had to revert to Pop Warner, just running over to the coach, getting the play and running back to the huddle," Mariota said, via the team's official website.

His coach was even more impressed.

"Most guys would panic at that point, but (Mariota) handled himself like a pro. He was calm," Ken Whisenhunt said. "If we make two catches, he's got a touchdown and a big first down on that opening drive, so he played well."

Mariota went 5-of-8 passing for 59 yards, for a passer rating of 84.9 in three series Sunday. He should have added a touchdown were it not for an easy drop by Dexter McCluster.

As impressive as his handling of the headset malfunction might seem, more noteworthy was his pocket presence and maneuvering.

Facing what Rams defensive coordinator Gregg Williams told NFL Media's Tiffany Blackmon is the best defensive line group he's ever coached, Mariota didn't blink.

The rookie signal-caller showed great pocket awareness, an ability to escape pressure when necessary and an understanding of where the defense was bringing pressure. On the McCluster drop, Mariota shuffled nicely in the pocket as he went through his reads to find the open target. That was a pro play.

Throughout training camp the praise for the Titans' quarterback was effusive. Now we all are experiencing why for ourselves.

The latest Around The NFL Podcast caps the weeklong Fantasy Extravaganza by talking undervalued and overvalued QBs and everyone's draft philosophies.

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