Why saying no is paying off for Marcus Mariota

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“He’s such a respectful guy, it was tough to get him to say, ‘Nah, I don’t like that play,'” LaFleur said.

But new things take time. The Titans stayed patient, and things started to click last Monday night in a victory over the Cowboys. By that point, Mariota and LaFleur had settled into a two-way playcalling groove.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

“After that game, I told him, ‘Dude, I felt like the catcher, giving the pitcher the signals, and you kept shaking me off,'” LaFleur said. “Which is great, because ultimately, they’re the guys out there, and if they don’t have confidence in something, odds are it’s not going to work anyway. We have a ton of plays we can call.”7

Whatever they’re doing now is working. Tennessee followed up that Monday night performance on Sunday afternoon with a 34-10 beat-down of the New England Patriots. They rolled out to a 17-3 first-quarter lead and never looked back, as Mariota went 16-of-24 for 228 yards and two touchdown passes. He even caught a 21-yard pass from wide receiver Darius Jennings on a “Philly Special”-style reverse pass. The Patriots had run the play earlier in the game and completed the pass to Tom Brady, who stumbled and fell short of the first-down marker.

“I wanted to see if ours looked any better than theirs,” Vrabel quipped after the game.

Everything the Titans did looked better than what the Patriots did in this game, and as a result they’re 5-4 — one game behind an AFC South-leading Houston team they’ve already beaten once. Of the seven games remaining on Tennessee’s schedule, only two are against teams with winning records — one more against Houston and one against Washington.

But more important than any of that is the fact that the offense is humming. After a tough early-season stretch that saw him have to fight through the loss to injury of tight end Delanie Walker and his own difficult elbow injury, Mariota is on a roll. Over his past three games, he has completed 72 percent of his passes with six touchdowns (five passing, one rushing) and one interception.

“It all starts with our quarterback, man, and Marcus is getting better and better every week,” Titans linebacker Wesley Woodyard said. “He’s getting his confidence back.”