Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota took a huge step forward in his second season in the NFL, throwing for 26 touchdowns and only 9 interceptions. Titans captain Wesley Woodyard credited his young quarterback’s work ethic and offensive line play for Mariota’s upward trajectory in 2016 when he joined joined The Jim Rome Show on Friday.
“The thing I like about Marcus is he’s the first guy in the building and one of the last guys to leave,” Woodyard said. “As an NFL quarterback, a face of the franchise, you want your star quarterback to be that first and last guy in the building. Marcus is a guy that challenges everybody, and I’m going to challenge him this year to be that great leader and not afraid to step up and get in anybody’s face, and I think the sky’s the limit for Marcus, man, great feet, he’s one those guys that wants to get better every day at practice.”
Woodyard expanded upon urging Mariota to challenge his teammates even more this season.
“I’ve seen it on a few occasions, but like I said, it’s going to be one thing that me and Brian Orakpo always sit and talk about it,” Woodyard said about Mariota getting after his teammates. “We are going to have to challenge Marcus, and say hey, don’t be afraid to check a guy because we have your back.”
Woodyard thinks if Mariota knows the team leaders are behind him he will be more comfortable in speaking up.
“If everybody sees that we’re behind Marcus, he’s our quarterback no matter what, what he says, it goes. We are going to be your muscle Marcus so don’t worry about anything else,” Mariota said. “So I think that’s something we’re having that same core group of guys coming back that’s going to continue to buy into the system, that believes in everything that our coaches are saying, and most importantly, following the lead of the veteran guys on the team.
“We have five pro bowlers coming back, and what can’t you not learn from a Pro Bowl guy. We have a tight end as a pro bowler, a D-lineman as a Pro Bowler, a linebacker that’s a Pro Bowler, a freaking running back that’s a Pro Bowler. It’s so much knowledge to be shared in our locker room, and I think that’s going to allow us to be a really good force this year.”