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Mariota, Titans look to cut down turnovers
Lots of eyes are on Marcus Mariota due to his turnovers and inconsistency through the first three games of the season.
Mariota tossed two more interceptions Sunday in a loss to Oakland and now has four, with at least one pick in all three games.
While the second-year quarterback is doing what quarterbacks are supposed to and shouldering the blame, not all of the issues with the interceptions seem to lie with him.
"It's turnovers, and that's on me and things that I can improve on," Mariota said. "That's going to hurt our team, no matter what happens or where it's going to be at. If I do a better job of taking care of the football, our team is in a better position."
However, coach Mike Mularkey indicated that everyone is culpable, not just Mariota. Sometimes the protections may break down, causing a back-foot throw or not being able to step into the throw from the pocket. Both of Sunday's picks against the Raiders had a chance to be avoided. One came on a tipped pass (though Mariota threw into traffic) and the other came when a defender simply wrestled the ball away from Rishard Matthews.
"I think it's everybody," Mularkey said. "I mean, you can include the coaching; I think it's everybody when it comes to turnovers. We work with him out here, especially when the ball's been out of hands on scrambles. We're going to keep doing that. Until we get it right, we've got to keep doing that. The interceptions again, it's one thing or another. It's execution of the play, maybe a different decision by Marcus.
"The first game, he threw a couple of those away and got rid of it and made plays to give us another down. Other ones, I thought our guys could make plays. This past game, we had some situations (where) I thought we could have made some plays on those balls."
Veteran receiver Andre Johnson said the receivers need to help.
"Sometimes we have to step up and bail the quarterback out by making a play for him," Johnson said.
Mariota has been evaluating the turnovers on game film and said he categorizes them according to type of mistake such as the wrong read or an errant throw in order to learn from it.
"Yeah, after every game, it's an opportunity for me to look back to see what worked, what was successful, what didn't necessarily work," he said, "just to have kind of a bank of things that I can look back on for future reference."
Mariota said he learns best by experiencing things and that helped him in college to nearly perfect Oregon's spread offense. Now, in the NFL, the growing pains are sometimes evident.
"Absolutely, and those are things that I learned through my career at Oregon. Those are things that I took and am using today," he said. "There's certain situations that are new to me that I'm kind of experiencing on the fly, but that's part of this process for me. It's part of the process for any young player. I'll just continue to learn and grow."
SERIES HISTORY: 29th regular-season meeting. Titans lead series, 15-13. Tennessee dominated this series in the early stages, but Houston has won four in a row and seven of the past eight.