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Does The AFC South Have Another Budding Star In Titans' Quarterback Marcus Mariota?

Intro: After a 1-1 start, the Titans believe they have found their future at quarterback in Marcus Mariota. How has Mariota, the No. 2 overall pick in 2015, fared in his two NFL starts?


INDIANAPOLIS – In Marcus Mariota's last four seasons as a starting quarterback, the amount of people who have had success against him are few.

Mariota was 36-5 as a college starter and has begun his NFL career unlike any other quarterback in league history.

Come Sunday, Mariota will look across the Colts defensive front and see two of the rare ones that can say they've had success against the former Heisman Trophy winner.

Former Stanford linemen Henry Anderson and David Parry were 2-1 against Mariota in college. In Mariota's three matchups against Stanford, the Oregon quarterback was just a 59.4 percent passer (his career average in college was 66.8 percent).

For Parry, seeing Mariota start his NFL career with six touchdowns (the most in league history for a rookie quarterback after two starts) and zero interceptions is no surprise.

"He's a mobile quarterback that also has a heck of an arm," Parry says of No. 2 overall pick in 2015.

"He's a great competitor and he's just an overall a really good football player."

The concern on Mariota coming out of Oregon was how would he adapt from a read-option style offense to a vastly different system.

Titans head coach Ken Whisenhunt is known for his pro-style system and there were definitely skeptics on Mariota transitioning to such a scheme.

Mariota's NFL-best 129.9 quarterback rating leads the NFL and is also the highest mark ever for a quarterback's first two starts in league history.

Safe to say, the learning curve hasn't been too much for Mariota to handle.

"He is as advertised," Chuck Pagano says of the man his defense will see under center on Sunday in Nashville.

"He does not look like a rookie. He's very poised. He's managing the game for them. He's making plays. He gets rid of the ball extremely fast. Then when things do break down and they run the read option with him, he's a nightmare with his legs. He's very, very athletic so he can beat you any way."

Mariota says there are some Oregon looks within the Titans playbook but he only has five rushes through two games.

While Mariota has shown he can handle being under center and have a presence within the pocket, keeping the Titans rookie quarterback upright has been difficult.

The Titans have given up nine sacks in 2015, the most in the NFL. The seven sacks and 11 quarterback hits on Mariota last week were a major reason why Cleveland jumped out to a 21-0 lead.

That will be the Colts objective on Sunday as they try to ramp up the pass rush of their own (just one quarterback sack and three hits through two games).

Pagano has seen his fair share of young quarterbacks before and the NFL appears to not be too big for Mariota.

"We knew coming in, all the accolades (Mariota) has," Pagano says.

"As advertised, he's as cool as a cucumber back there and he does not get rattled."

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