Going into Sunday, I was one of the few people that believed Marcus Mariota could return to the player Tennessee Titans fans saw two years ago.

But after the loss to the Denver Broncos on Sunday, I am on the total opposite end of the spectrum. I now believe the Titans absolutely must move on from Mariota.

It’s no secret that Mariota hasn’t been lighting it up this season, but I still believed he had a slim chance at an extension if he played well enough for the rest of the season. Now, I’m not even sure if he will be the starter at the end of the season.

Sunday was one of the worst games of Mariota’s career. He went a disappointing 7-for-18 for only 63 yards and two interceptions — against a sub-par Denver defense.

It was Mariota’s second-lowest yardage output since December of his rookie year against New England. He threw for 30 yards in that game, but left with an injury in the second quarter.

Coming into the season, general manager Jon Robinson did everything possible to surround the fifth-year quarterback with the best team possible. Robinson put a lot of money into the offensive line and added a couple of weapons at receiver. Granted, the offensive line has been awful, but Mariota has found a way to under-perform with the best group of receivers he has ever had.

I don’t know if it’s because of all the injuries he’s suffered over the years, but Mariota seemingly has no confidence in the pocket. He missed an easy out route on third down early on Sunday. He then proceeded to miss Derrick Henry on a screen pass on the next drive. These are throws that the fifth-year quarterback should be able to complete with ease — especially given this is the most important season of his career.

I know the Titans offense has multiple problems that Mariota cannot control. The offensive line and play calling have both been bad this season. However, an efficient quarterback can make up for some of those offensive issues. Mariota simply is not efficient. He had a quarterback rating of 35.8 going into Sunday, which ranked 30th in the league.

Ryan Tannehill was serviceable in relief. He went 13-16 for 144 yards and one interception. The quarterback controversy that most Titans fans scoffed at earlier is now alive and well. If Mariota is named the starter for Sunday’s game against the Chargers he will likely be on an incredibly short leash.

I wish Marcus Mariota nothing but the best going forward this season but I just don’t see the Titans giving him a big extension in the offseason. Especially with the quarterback talent coming in the 2020 draft.

It would not surprise me if another team gives Mariota a chance to be a starter. If not, he would make a competent backup.

Barring one of the best 10-game stretches the league has ever seen, I don’t see how the Titans can give Marcus Mariota a long-term extension.

PHOTO CREDIT:  Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

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