Believe it or not, there was a time when Marcus Mariota was on top of the world. He was a starter for the Oregon Ducks and led them to a 35-6 record at the end of his three years. The Hawaii native even earned Heisman honors in 2014.
"When he was a freshman I remarked, 'This kid's going to win the Heisman. He's a special young man and he's a hell of a football player and he deserves it," former Oregon Coach, Chip Kelly said of Mariota. "He's a special player, and he's just got a gift for playing football. He's everything you want. He can throw the ball, he can run. He's the most talented kid I coached in college. He might be the fastest guy on the field, but his mind is even faster. He thinks like Peyton Manning."
Again, this was the guy that The Browns were willing to offer two first-round picks for. At one point, this man was considered the future of the NFL.
Fast-forward to 2020, and Mariota is now a backup for Derek Carr and the Las Vegas Raiders. As if that wasn’t bad enough, he is also reportedly suffering from muscle strains and is missing a lot of practice due to this. If nothing else, this is pretty much proof that if Mariota can’t find a way back on the field, his career will be over.
Think about it! Derek Carr is honestly too consistent of a quarterback to be replaced, and with Vegas sports fans expecting a run at the playoffs, Mariota just doesn't seem to fit into that picture. Of course, all that could change if Carr somehow ended up going down this season, but does Mariota have what it takes to lead an NFL offense?
While his most ardent supporters might be inching to say yes, especially with him being a former Heisman and taking The Tennessee Titans to the playoffs before, his injury problem and subpar ratings paint a different picture.
Another big problem with Mariota is that he hasn’t taken the field since 2019 and might not even see playtime unless he is traded somewhere. He likely won’t see his release until the end of the season, and that’s after a whole year on the bench.
Every week that goes by without Mariota taking the field, the league evolves a little. The defense becomes a little tougher to read, the offense becomes even more difficult to stop, and suddenly you don’t have what it takes to make it in the NFL. That seems to be the category that Mariota is heading towards.
Honestly, it’s hard to see Mariota having a starting job again. The game has moved on from him and he has aged a lot during that time as well. Maybe Mariota could serve as a backup for another team or even third-string QB if things go wrong for a particular team, but it looks like his days of being a franchise quarterback are over.