Two poor preseason performances place a spotlight on Eagles QB Marcus Mariota

Marcus Mariota has had a tough summer and two bad showings during the preseason. He seems to have lost his touch, but the better question is how much does he have left?
Marcus Mariota, Philadelphia Eagles
Marcus Mariota, Philadelphia Eagles / Mitchell Leff/GettyImages

Let's rewind the tape to 2015 and the conversations that we were having at that time. There was a discussion we were entertaining, and it specifically mentioned the possibility of the Philadelphia Eagles trading first-round draft capital in an attempt to move up during the selection meeting and draft Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota. As fate would have it, destiny had other plans. He was selected second overall by the Tennessee Titans, and questions about 'what if?' have been asked by Philly sports fans ever since.

Fast forward to August 17, 2023. Much of Philly gets the man that they wanted albeit eight years later. Mariota is an Eagle. signed to be the backup quarterback for the defending NFC Champions, and in the first half of a preseason game, he completed nine of 17 passes resulting in 86 yards, an interception, and a passer rating of 42.8. Phew… buddy… What's sad is those numbers don’t tell the story of how bad his performance was. 

Eagles' second-string quarterback, Marcus Mariota clearly doesn't have much left, but is there anything salvageable?

In the press conference following the preseason opener against the Baltimore Ravens, Mariota was asked about his thoughts on the wildfires in Maui. Given that he is from Hawaii, it would make sense that he had much on his mind. That had to affect him. There's no way that it couldn't, right? Whether thoughts cross one's mind during preparation, pregame, or on the field itself, it can be tough to block the outside noise, and if Mariota, by chance, was affected, absolutely no one would blame him.

Man, he's been brutal to watch. To his credit, he took ownership and admitted to having a bad game. Unfotunately, it happened again a few days later.

While sitting with select members of the media during his post-game press conference following the second preseason game, Mariota's demeanor looked the same as it had following the first. Again, he again took ownership, and that's a good thing. He used the word 'sloppy', but at the risk of kicking a man while he is down, that term, again, doesn’t quite describe how bad things were.

His interception, one thrown so badly that only Boban Marjanović could haul it in it sailed somewhere around three yards over Grant Calcatera’s head. Rookie Ronnie Hickman walked away with his third interception of the preseason.

That’s only one example of how bad the ball placement was, but there were MANY more. Passes sailed high, low, and wide. Marcus Mariota has never been praised for consistent accuracy, but what we're seeing now is baffling.

The scary thing about the situation is that it’s akin to what we saw last year with Gardner Minshew. There are many similarities, but these are also two different players in terms of skill sets. When Minshew was in, the playbook had to be altered from what was done with Jalen Hurts in the lineup. Minshew didn't have the mobility.

With Mariota, we see the opposite. He is mobile but doesn't have the arm talent that Minshew has, so some of the playbook has to be thrown out because of his inaccuracy issues.

Yeah, if Mariota were to play in a regular-season game, he would have all the starting skill players at his disposal. He'd be protected by the best offensive line in the league, but he still has to be able to throw the ball in DeVonta Smith's zip code. He cannot do that on even a semi-consistent basis.

The dude’s only got a few weeks left to show the team that he’s got enough juice to be QB2, but by most reports from practices and based on what we’ve seen so far in the preseason games, things aren’t looking too hot for him. 

If we’re going to rate Marcus Mariota’s cookedness on the same scale as the doneness of a steak, he’s looking medium-well, and he’s about 10 seconds from being well done.

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