Tennessee Titans: Marcus Mariota to spurn coaches’ weight suggestion

Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images
Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images /

The Tennessee Titans coaching staff has suggested Marcus Mariota put on more weight, but the quarterback doesn’t seem to care for that suggestion.

When he participated in the NFL Scouting Combine a few years back, Marcus Mariota weighed in at 222 pounds. The quarterback ran a blazing 4.52-second 40-yard dash at that weight and was subsequently taken with the second pick by the Tennessee Titans. Fast forward three years and Mariota is emerging as a talented, if somewhat brittle, star.

He’s missed five games in his first two seasons because of injuries, the latest of which was a broken leg that ended his 2016 campaign. According to his trainer, Ryan Flaherty, the senior director of performance at Nike, the Titans wanted Mariota heavier. They felt adding weight would help make Mariota better able to withstand the beatings NFL quarterbacks take.

Mariota and Flaherty have different ideas.

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In an interview with Paul Kuharsky of The Midday 180 in Nashville, Flaherty said Mariota is going to arrive in training camp lighter than normal:

"“I have always told Marcus that I thought he should play at 215 pounds because I felt like he was the fastest at that weight.”"

Flaherty continued:

"“However the Titans coaches always told him they wanted him heavier and to play around 225-230 pounds to be able to absorb hits. Finally this year Marcus agrees with me and will play at 215 and I think you’ll notice a huge difference even though it’s only a difference of 10 pounds."

Though being lighter might not seem like it’s good for injury-prone players, Flaherty also said that being quicker should help Mariota avoid hits and, ultimately, stay healthier.

That’s all well and good. But it also doesn’t mesh with what the Titans want. The Titans don’t necessarily want Mariota running around. That’s why they went out this offseason and seriously upgraded their receiving weapons.

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After all, even if Mariota does get slightly faster, he still won’t be the fastest player on an NFL field. He might have — and did — run away from most college defenders. That’s not happening in the NFL. We will see what head coach Mike Mularkey‘s reaction is later this week if Mariota does, indeed, come in lighter.