His production so far says they were right.
Mariota’s numbers inside and outside the pocket are not dramatically different, except that only 7 percent of his attempts have come from outside the pocket.
The surprise to me is that the Titans have not chosen to roll him out more. ESPN Stats & Information breaks down throws inside and outside the pocket, but doesn’t signify which of those throws from outside the pocket come on designed rollouts.
If feels like a vastly underused part of his game.
Interim coach Mike Mularkey said for a time, the Titans were not rolling Mariota because he was coming off a knee injury that cost him two games.
“Defenses are conscious of this guy and what he’s able to do when he’s out of the pocket,” Mularkey said. “There are definitely designs to get him out. There were more in the Jacksonville game, but just the way they defended it, it did not happen.”
Titans receivers have not done well to get separation from defenders, and rollouts could also help them by giving them additional time to break free.
Tennessee cornerback Coty Sensabaugh said he doesn’t like to see a quarterback rolling out if he can put the ball on target.
“For me, I’m thinking I’m getting a comeback or a go route, or a comeback-and-go,” he said. “… It depends on his accuracy. If he can throw it on the run, I would much rather him stay in the pocket.”
Mularkey indicated defenses are taking potential rollouts away. Former coach Ken Whisenhunt also spoke about what defenses wouldn’t allow the Titans to do.
I’m not campaigning for them to bang their heads against the wall or for Mariota to do a bunch of running. But some rollout passes sure seem like they could diversify the Titans' portfolio, and moving the number of throws from outside the pocket up a bit from 7 percent can’t be that hard or risky, can it?