NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Through five games the Titans’ plan to beef up Marcus Mariota has paid serious dividends.

David Carr was sacked 76 times quarterbacking the 2002 expansion Houston Texans. Mariota has absorbed 22 through five games, which puts him on pace for 70.MariotaSnapYellColts

He’s taking plenty of hits beyond those sacks, and while the offensive line is the primary culprit, Mariota’s held the ball too long too often. Play design sometimes seems to contribute, with deep routes combining with poor protection to complicate things.

But I am here to credit Mariota. Though his play has been jagged, he’s been excellent on two fronts that were big concerns heading into a fifth-season that will determine much about his future.

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