Marcus Mariota: 'I can learn and grow from' benching

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Marcus Mariota lost his starting job due to a string of poor performances, culminating in last week's dismal outing and ultimate benching in Denver.

On Wednesday, the Tennessee Titans quarterback used the word "disappointed" repeatedly to describe his play and being benched in favor of Ryan Tannehill.

"Disappointment. It is going to be different," Mariota said, via Jim Wyatt of the team's official website. "I haven't really been in this role for a long time, really at all in my career. So again, I'm going to do everything I can to help Ryan and this team."

Mariota has completed 59.1 percent of passes this season, averaging 196.5 passing yards per game with seven TDs and two INTs. The quarterback has also been sacked 25 times this year, tied for most in the NFL, some of which were the cause of a faulty offensive line, but far too many the QB ran himself into.

The Titans' offense has been a meandering dud through six games, with Mariota's inconsistency unable to lift all boats. The bottom fell out Sunday as the quarterback sprayed passes in the dirt and over receivers' heads and rarely gave his pass-catchers a chance. His day culminated in a 9.5 passer rating.

The benching in favor of Tannehill feels like an end to the former No. 2 overall pick's career in Tennessee. If so, Mariota didn't hang his head or wallow.

"For me, my expectation was always to be the best player I could be for this team," Mariota said. "And, until the day that I die, I'm going to believe I gave it all I got. No matter what, I can learn and grow from this situation. This isn't going to bring me down. This isn't going to end my career. This is an opportunity for me to grow. And I'm going to make the most of it."

Coach Mike Vrabel said he made the QB switch to "get a little spark" that was clearly missing in the offense. Whether Tannehill can light that fire remains to be seen, but the coach isn't worried about Mariota's psyche.

"You have to look at the body of work and really just try to evaluate how we want to try to function the passes that we need to complete," Vrabel said. "The operation, the entire offense to be able to function, score points, move the field, convert third downs. And I'm very confident after having talked to Marcus and watch him prepare already today that if called upon at some point in time, we expect him to be ready to go. It's not an easy thing for any player. I would say it's not an easy thing for a coach who cares about his players that spends a lot of time with him to make that decision but we felt like this was the right thing for the team right now."

Vrabel dismissed the idea that the staff and entire organization failed Mariota, who did not improve during his five years in the league.

"I don't think that that's even something that I've even tried to consider," the coach said. "Just trying to get a team ready this week. Be respectful of both quarterbacks. That's why I gave it the thought that I did and met with them when I did. So that we can move forward with the game plan and get these guys ready to go."

The Titans are moving forward with a new quarterback, and likely will be in search of the next potential franchise signal-caller once again in the offseason.

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