A common theme around the media during the early part of the week is power rankings. Whether they are ranking college football teams, baseball teams, basketball teams, or NFL teams it is something that most major outlets do.
ESPN and NFL.com are no different, and they are the two that I pay the most attention to during the week. They generally use either a composite ranking to get their list, or they have someone assigned to watch every game before they make their list.
With other sites, there is a lot of guess work and assumptions that become pretty clear by around Week 8 and I have no intention of using them in these articles.
So, let’s take a look at how those two sites ranked the Tennessee Titans in their power rankings.
” What a weird deal in San Diego on Sunday.Derrick Henry hurt himself in pregame warmups, so Tennessee couldn’t get the “exotic smashmouth” going early. Marcus Mariota stunk. … Then the offense picked up the pace, pulling off a quick-strike score at the end of the first half. On the opening drive of the second half, Tennessee went fast-paced again, throwing it all over the joint. Right when you thought the Titans were on their way, former No. 2 overall pick Marcus Mariota started playing like former No. 2 overall pick Ryan Leaf. Ahh, cookies. Next up: Packers, at home. “
Saying Marcus Mariota stunk, is a really weird thing to do. Mariota threw two interceptions, one when the defender had his back turned to the ball and the pass looked open and then as soon as the ball was out of Mariota’s hand the defender turned around and made a great play.
However he also accounted for four touchdowns on the day, and dragged a team that couldn’t stop Phil Rivers to a chance to come back and win the game.
Also, saying Mariota played like Ryan Leaf is one of their worst descriptions I have ever heard. Go ahead and guess how many games in his career Ryan Leaf accounted for 4 touchdowns. Did you guess 0 like everyone else in the world? Fantastic.
In 5 of Marcus Mariota’s 21 career games, he has totaled 4 touchdowns. That is 24%, and it includes a game where he looked like “Ryan Leaf”.
“5: QB Marcus Mariota has improved this season, but he needs to limit critical errors. He has had five turnovers returned for touchdowns this season — most in the NFL — with the Titans going 0-3 when that happens. 85.2: When Mariota is on, the Titans can do some damage. Only Ben Roethlisberger (85.3) has a higher QBR in wins the past two seasons than Mariota (85.2), which makes his play the biggest key to Tennessee’s success.”
What that means to me is that the Tennessee Titans live or die by Marcus Mariota. If Mariota struggles this team really struggles to win.
However, when the Titans win it is because Marcus Mariota usually had a good day. You have to take the good with the bad with young quarterbacks, and when your highs are that high and your lows are fewer and farther between you have to like the way the team is progressing.