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Marcus Mariota, Titans to emulate Eagles, Dolphins?

General manager Ruston Webster revealed to NFL Network early this month that the Titans had already begun tailoring their offense to Marcus Mariota before selecting the Oregon star in the 2015 NFL Draft.

Now we know which offenses and quarterbacks coach Ken Whisenhunt is emulating as he veers from a more rigid system that has served him well for the past decade.

In addition to studying Mariota's college scheme, Tennessee's coaches looked at the offenses of the Eagles, Dolphins and Bengals to create a system that will best enhance their new quarterback's unique skill set, according to Bleacher Report's Dan Pompei.

Philadelphia and Miami feature uptempo shotgun-heavy, run-action spread offenses similar to Oregon's. For the bulk of Andy Dalton's career, Cincinnati's offense has utilized many of the same concepts he ran in TCU's spread attack.

Whereas college spread quarterbacks such as Blaine Gabbert, Tim Tebow, Brandon Weeden and Johnny Manziel have faceplanted in the NFL, the Titans believe Mariota's edge in talent, aptitude and spatial memory will allow him to make a smooth adjustment along the lines of Dalton's solid rookie season.

"There isn't enough evidence one way or the other to say these guys are at a major disadvantage," Webster told Pompei. "This hasn't been going on that long. I think it depends more on the skill of the player than the offense they come from. Coaching stability in the NFL is a part of it, too."

Although Whisenhunt won't call as many designed runs as the Seahawks do, the Titans have also poured over Russell Wilson's game tape for ideas on harnessing Mariota's speed and running instincts.

"We'll have to come up with how often, when, and in what situations to let him run the ball," quarterbacks coach John McNulty said. "The Seahawks have a good feel for when to hit those plays. ... We're looking at how they handle it, how they've had success and managed to keep Russell healthy."

When we spoke to Seahawks coordinator Darrell Bevell at the Super Bowl, he noted that Wilson has succeeded where other running quarterbacks have failed because his decision-making is superior.

The Titans believe Mariota has similar instincts. In fact, western regional scouts Marv Sunderland and Phil Neri reached the same independent conclusion that Mariota was worthy of a grade commensurate with the best player in the draft.

With that lofty appraisal and an offense custom-made to highlight his strengths and conceal his weaknesses, it will be at least a mild disappointment if Mariota doesn't find himself in the mix for Offensive Rookie of the Year honors.

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