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Patrick Daugherty

The Morning After

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Marcus Mariota's Struggles

Monday, October 15, 2018


Week 4 was a moment of hope for Marcus Mariota. The fourth-year starter passed for the third-most yards of his career (344) as the Titans rallied to stun the defending Super Bowl champion Eagles at home. Mariota walked the game in overtime off with a 10-yard score to Corey Davis, a fellow first-rounder he has struggled to get on the same page with. It felt like a corner had been turned, both on Mariota’s down 2017 and his injury-wrecked September.


It had, just not the direction anyone was hoping. Now Mariota is at a crossroads. Where does he go from here? Mariota took 11 sacks — just the 12th player in NFL history to do so — as he completed 10 passes in the Titans’ shutout loss to the Ravens. He threw for 117 yards, an abysmal total that was somehow his third best of the season. Mariota’s blocking was obviously an issue, but he seemed to exacerbate it with poor pre-snap reads. The Ravens, correctly, decided they could bring the heat with impunity.


Mariota is at the rock bottom of a slump that started in 2017. He has 15 passing touchdowns compared to 19 interceptions over his past 20 games. He’s exceeded 300 yards just three times since the start of last season. He’s exceeded 200 yards once in 2018. Things could get worse before they get better. Mariota has desperately missed security blanket Delanie Walker while should-be No. 2 receiver Rishard Matthews is a free agent. The running game and offensive line are both struggling, surely in part because opposing defenses do not fear the quarterback.        


Consistency has never been Mariota’s NFL calling card, but we know he has the talent to get better. We’ve seen it as recently as Week 4. What we’ve seen in Mariota’s other four appearances is zero touchdowns in 75 attempts, a quarterback playing without confidence or big-play ability. A player who is not going to get a contract extension unless he rediscovers his 2015-16 form.     


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Five Week 6 Storylines


Derek Carr stunningly awful in overseas loss to Seahawks. If not for Mariota, it would be Carr dominating the “what in the fresh hell was that?” Week 6 headlines. Carr generated 142 yards on 31 attempts (4.58), throwing for zero scores as the Raiders lost 27-3 in London. He was spotted literally in tears after taking his fifth sack. Carr has now thrown for one or zero touchdowns in 5-of-6 games, turning the ball over more often than it finds the end zone. Like Mariota, Carr’s slump dates back before 2018. Carr has not been the same since his gruesome 2016 leg injury, with last year’s back fracture making matters worse. Carr’s 3.9 touchdown percentage since the start of last season is third worst amongst quarterbacks to make at least 21 starts (the number Carr has made). Although it’s hardly the envy of the league, Carr has the weapons to get back on track. For all his faults, calling the offense hasn’t been a problem for Jon Gruden so far. The Raiders’ bye could not be coming at a better time. If we don’t see a new Carr against the Colts in Week 8, Gruden’s patience will be running on fumes.     


Amari Cooper knocked unconscious, suffers concussion. This certainly did not help Carr in London. Cooper took a gruesome helmet-to-helmet shot from Seahawks S Bradley McDougald and was out cold. It was the sort of sickening scene the NFL is trying to legislate out of the game. The concussion is Cooper’s second in many years, though it comes as the Raiders are headed on bye. That means Cooper could return without missing any time. If Cooper does play in Week 8 against the Colts’ leaky and undermanned defense, it will be with one catch for 10 yards over his past two games. With Derek Carr off the rails, Cooper’s Raiders season might be beyond saving. Fantasy owners’ best bet might be FOX’s Jay Glazer’s report of a potential trade coming true.   


Cooper Kupp comes back to life after knee scare. Kupp’s season appeared to be through following Darian Stewart’s horse-collar tackle. A crumpled Kupp was examined on the sideline before being carted to the locker room, where initial reports had him unable to walk. So it was quite a surprise when Kupp emerged from the locker room with his helmet for the second half. He was in the game for the Rams’ first drive of the third quarter. He was not spotted thereafter, but it confirmed the worst had been avoided. Monday testing could still reveal a multi-week issue, but it is more likely that Kupp is cleared to play for Week 7 against the 49ers. Perhaps the Rams will decide Kupp should rest for what is unlikely to be a competitive affair.      


Dak Prescott and Cole Beasley stunningly trample Jaguars. If Marcus Mariota and Derek Carr were laying eggs, Prescott was shocking the world. Prescott chose his toughest matchup of the season for his best performance, posting his first three-touchdown game of 2018 while rushing for a career-high 82 yards. His numbers could have been better, but the Cowboys called the dogs off in the second half. Prescott attempted just nine passes after the break. An ugly clunker against the Texans was mixed in, but Prescott has now been excellent against quality opponents in two of his past three starts. He’s back on the QB2 radar for Week 7 against the Redskins.  


Seahawks’ David Moore torments Raiders. The 2017 seventh-rounder scored for the third time in two games. Moore has posted at least one 28-yard reception in three-straight contests, suddenly giving the Seahawks the outside threat they had sorely been lacking. Although Moore is playing just half the Seahawks’ snaps, he is making Brandon Marshall expendable. The 6-foot-0 sophomore is worth a look in Dynasty leagues, and could even come on the re-draft radar if he gets his snap and target counts up.   


Don't forget, for the latest on everything NFL, check out Rotoworld's Player News, or follow @Rotoworld_FB or @RotoPat on Twitter.



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Patrick Daugherty is a football and baseball writer for Rotoworld.com. He can be found on Twitter .
Email :Patrick Daugherty



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