Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota is genuinely one of the best people in the NFL.

Mariota isn’t the type of player that’s going to bash coaches or teammates via the media.

But after another disastrous game from the Titans, in which Mariota completed 22-of-23 passes for 303 yards, it’s time for the former Oregon quarterback to ruffle some feathers behind closed doors.

After the Titans’ loss on Monday night, Mariota was asked about the call to hand the ball off to tight end Luke Stocker (his first career carry) on fourth and one in the second quarter.

Predictably, Mariota told reporters that he loved the call.

I wouldn’t expect Mariota to say anything else to reporters about the call. He’s never going to publicly throw anyone under the bus.

However, it would be in his best interest to have a spirited discussion with offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur. If he doesn’t, he’s only hurting himself and his team.

LaFleur is a first time play caller. Mariota is entering his fourth season in the NFL. While Mariota isn’t a Pro-Bowl caliber quarterback at the moment, he still has plenty of experience in fourth and short opportunities.

Everyone knows the decision to give Stocker his first career carry on a fourth down play, in the middle of a close game, is a questionable decision at best.

If LaFleur is going to improve as a play caller, he has to be willing to adapt and listen to his players. He needs to know, from players like Mariota, that his fourth down call was terrible.

Great quarterbacks like Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady and Peyton Manning bettered themselves over their career by having tough conversations with coaches. It’s not all smiles and rainbows on the sideline. There’s yelling, there’s anger and there are tough conversations that might leave someone’s feelings hurt.

Mariota needs to have those conversations if he wants to help take the Titans to the next level.

It might be out of character for Mariota, but it’s the only way he’s going to be great. And it’s the only way he’s going to help turn the Titans’ season around.

Featured image via Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

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