Fumbling becoming an issue for Marcus Mariota

Marcus Mariota's five fumbles ties him for the league lead.

Christopher Hanewinckel/Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODA

While Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota has done plenty of positive things during his brief five-game NFL career, turnovers have emerged as a recurring issue for the rookie. Specifically, fumbles.

Mariota fumbled twice in last Sunday’s loss to the Miami Dolphins, bringing his season total to five. That ties him for the NFL lead with San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick. Mariota’s four fumbles lost lead the league as well.

Titans head coach Ken Whisenhunt defended his quarterback this week, saying Mariota doesn’t shoulder all the blame for the fumbles. The Heisman Trophy winner has been sacked 19 times so far and faced constant pressure from the Dolphins last week.  That pressure included a hit from defensive end Olivier Vernon, which resulted in a sprained MCL for Mariota.

“That’s on our group, our team,” Whisenhunt said, per the Tennessean. “We have to do a better job of protecting him.”

Whisenhunt also said there wasn’t much Mariota could have done to prevent either of the fumbles forced by the Dolphins.

“If you look at the two fumbles he had, he actually had two hands on the ball,” Whisenhunt said. “When he was going to throw is when they hit the ball and knocked it loose. It’s kind of hard to throw the ball with two hands. At some point you have to let it go. That’s when the timing of it worked out that the ball got hit.” 

Mariota also threw two interceptions against Miami, bringing his season total to five. His status for Sunday’s game against the Atlanta Falcons is uncertain. If he is unable to play, Zach Mettenberger will get the start for the Titans.

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