Quarterback Marcus Mariota revealed why he signed with the Las Vegas Raiders and the reasons may surprise you.
The splash signing for the Las Vegas Raiders on offense this offseason is quarterback Marcus Mariota as he is brought in to backup Derek Carr and compete for the starting job. Mariota was the unquestioned started in Tennessee for five seasons before being unseated by Ryan Tannehill who recently signed an extension with the Titans after leading them to the AFC Championship Game.
Mariota had his struggles in Tennessee but also managed to lead the Titans to the playoffs in 2017 and engineered an incredible comeback in Arrowhead Stadium against the Kansas City Chiefs. The former Oregon Duck is a mature and experienced quarterback that hit a rough patch and had the rug pulled out from underneath him by a quarterback that caught fire at the right time.
His maturity and leadership alone would have made him a valuable candidate for a number of backup roles throughout the NFL, and perhaps even as a starter for teams like the Carolina Panthers or LA Chargers who recently lost a long term starter.
So why did Mariota choose to come to Las Vegas? Aside from the potentially massive contract if he takes over the starting role, Mariota discussed the reasons with KHON, a TV station in his home state of Hawaii.
Mariota told KHON in his first interview on the move to the Raiders:
“I had two priorities that I had while I was going through this free agency process. Number one was to find stability. I wanted to be a part of an organization that had a stable head coach, that had stability in the front office, and secondly for me, I wanted to be a part of a coaching staff that could bring out the best in me. That could embrace my talents and kind of put my best foot forward.”
For years the Raiders have had massive turnover at head coach and have not exactly been a model of stability at any of the leadership positions. Since Jon Gruden’s first stint with the Raiders, no coach has lasted longer than three years with several holding the top job for a year or less.
Gruden is entering his third year in 2020 and is here for the long haul unless something dramatic happens in the next season or two. So when Mariota surveyed the league, weighed his options, and saw that the Raiders of all teams had stability is a refreshing change.
In the past the Raiders had to overpay for average talent because of the uncertainty surrounding leadership and even the quality of the team’s facilities, neither of which should a concern in the near future. The last 20 years in Oakland have been a struggle for the team on and off the field with rare bright spots like the 2016 season but this is the beginning of a new era.
A player like Marcus Mariota may not be the biggest fish free agent but if he feels the Raiders are a stable franchise then the word must be getting out around the league. The former regime of Reggie McKenzie and Jack Del Rio had to drag the club in to the 21st century after decades of mediocrity but dynamic duo of Gruden and Mike Mayock are poised to restore the Raiders back to top of the NFL.