Mariota Finally Comes to Philly

Posted: March 17th, 2023 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 1 Comment »

The Eagles signed Marcus Mariota to fill the backup QB spot vacated by Gardner Minshew, who headed off to Indy. Mariota is an interesting addition for a few reasons.

First, he’s mobile. The Eagles went from a pocket-passer like Minshew to a guy who averages 5.8 yards per carry for his career. To put that in perspective, Jalen Hurts averages 5.2 yards per carry for his career. Amazingly, Hurts already has more rushing attempts than Mariota. That is kind of mind-blowing.

When Hurts missed games in the past two years, the offense looked different. The QB run game went away. Aside from the Saints debacle, Minshew still led the offense to points and yards. By adding Mariota, I’m guessing the Eagles are hoping the offense can remain dynamic if Hurts is out for a game or two.

We wondered if the coaches might go for a running QB. And they did.

This move is interesting because things didn’t end well for Mariota in Atlanta. He was benched in favor of rookie Desmond Ridder late in the season. Mariota left the team. Some thought it was mainly to deal with a knee injury. Coach Arthur Smith wasn’t thrilled

“(The knee) is nothing that has been an issue this season, but that’s (Mariota’s) prerogative,” Smith said. “Of course, you want all your guys to be here, but guys have to make decisions. It’s part of professional sports. You have to have contingency plans.”

That doesn’t sound like a Sirianni kind of player, but we do need some context. Mariota was a starter in Tennessee and then was a backup for the Raiders for two years. He went to Atlanta because he wanted to play and it was a reunion with Smith, who had coached him with the Titans. Mariota had to be frustrated when he was benched, knowing that was likely his last chance as a full-time starter. He can be comfortable as a backup if he knows that’s his role.

The Eagles do have some connections to Mariota.

And AJ Brown played with him in Tennessee. I’m assuming those guys vouched for Mariota. Sirianni watched him play in 2018 and 2019 when the Colts and Titans battled twice a year. Sirianni always talked about how Minshew impressed him when the Colts played the Jags. Live impressions in a game can have real meaning.

The other aspect of this that is so interesting is history. Back in 2015, Chip Kelly was the Eagles coach. He had coached Mariota at Oregon and started him on the path to being a great player. The whole world knew Kelly wanted to draft Mariota. The problem is that the Eagles were nowhere close to the top pick so it was a longshot at best. The Eagles inquired, but the asking price was huge. Ironically, one of the pieces would have been Fletcher Cox, who just re-signed to extend his time in Philly to 12 years.

Kelly and Eagles fans will finally get to see Mariota in midnight green. It just won’t be the circumstances they dreamed of back in the offseason of 2015.

I like the move. The Eagles needed a good backup. Mariota’s skill set is a good match for the offense. He is more physically gifted than Minshew and more experienced.

Let’s also point out Mariota has his issues. He is an inconsistent passer. He’s got a strong arm, but you’ll see him underthrow deep balls. His decision-making isn’t always great. There is a reason a player with his experience and talent is a backup.

Still, I think this is a good move. Mariota has never been surrounded by this much offensive talent. I also think this will be the best offensive coaching staff he’s worked with. Put simply, he’s in position to succeed.


The Eagles are collecting high picks, so to speak.

  • Mariota was the 2nd overall pick in 2015
  • Rashaad Penny was the 27th overall pick in 2018
  • Greedy Williams was the 46th overall pick in 2019

These players will earn around $8M total for 2022. The Eagles are taking chances on talent. None of these guys is a sure thing, but all have the potential to be good players. All of them are physically gifted.

Mariota and Penny have performed at a high level. Mariota just wasn’t able to be a top QB. Penny hasn’t been able to stay healthy. That could change with a new team and strength/medical staff. He has the potential to emerge as a good starter.

Williams is the underachiever of the group. He showed big time ability at LSU. Williams started 12 games as a rookie with the Browns in 2019. He wasn’t anything special, but showed promise. He then missed all of 2020 with a shoulder injury. Williams returned in 2021 and started 8 games. Again, he showed talent, but still couldn’t put all the pieces together. Williams played in 11 games last season, but only started one. He just didn’t develop in Cleveland. He still has talent.

Williams is worth taking a chance on. He’s young and talented. If he doesn’t pan out, you cut him and move on. Didn’t cost big money or a draft pick.

(Yesterday I said he was 24 going on 25. He’s actually 25 going on 26. We should all be so lucky.)


Would the Eagles have interest? Maybe. I can see Mills as the poor man’s CJGJ. Both are versatile, have big personalities and played in Super Bowls with the Eagles. Mills played CB, NB and safety when he was with the Eagles. It would be fun to have the Green Goblin back in town.

The safety market continues to be weak for the players. Teams just aren’t paying. Things remain quiet with CJGJ. He has to be incredibly frustrated at the lack of a payday and not a whole lot of attention that we know of. Now the Titans are trying to get Kevin Byard to take a pay cut. He wants no part of that so there could be another player on the market in the coming days. Not what CJGJ wanted to hear.