Not as the No. 2 overall pick or the face of the franchise but as one of the more accomplished backup quarterbacks in football with the mindset to help Jalen Hurts as much as he can while attempting to secure a Super Bowl ring.
“To be part of a team that was a play away from winning a Super Bowl was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up,” Mariota said during a video conference call.
Mariota signed a one-year contract on March 20 for $5 million and enters an environment where he’s familiar with a number of coaches, including his position coach Alex Tanney. The two were teammates in Tennessee when Mariota was a rookie and the new Eagles’ QB joked to his old friend “I don’t know if I can call you coach.”
Tanney was elevated to QBs coach this offseason after Shane Steichen left to become the head coach in Indianapolis and former QB coach Brian Johnson was promoted to OC. Current Eagles tight ends coach Jason Michael was Mariota’s OC with the Titans in 2015 and his QB coach over the next two seasons while passing game coordinator Kevin Patullo was also a Tennessee assistant while Mariota was there.
“I’m very excited to be in this quarterback room,” Mariota said. “I think it’s important you have a strong quarterback room.”
A starter with the Titans for parts of five seasons before getting a second chance in Atlanta in 2022, Mariota will not turn 30 until this fall so he’s still got time to rehabilitate his career and become a starter once again but the Honolulu native understands what his role in Philadelphia well be come September.
“When you go out there and you compete against yourself every single day, and you try to make yourself better, I think that makes the room better,” said Mariota. “That’s always been my focus. I just try to be the best version of myself day in and day out, best teammate, best quarterback, best father, best husband.
“When it comes down to that, I can just take those little days one at a time. Hopefully, I’ll get another opportunity, but for now, I’m excited just to be a great teammate. I’m excited to learn from Jalen. I’m excited to learn from this staff. I think together, we can go and accomplish great things, and that’s what my main focus is.”
History — Hurts missed one regular-season game due to injury in 2021 and two last season — says Mariota should get a short opportunity to prove himself again with what’s projected to be a very good team again.
“I think it’s a great opportunity for me to hopefully help a younger guy out,” said Mariota. “I’m at a point in my career where I’ve experienced everything. I’ve been the guy, I’ve been a scout team guy, I’ve been released, so through all those different situations and scenarios I just gathered a lot of experience and a lot of knowledge.
“I’m at a point in my career where I just want to enjoy the game. I want to have fun doing it.”