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Insider shares his feelings about Marcus Mariota's 'inner fire'

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Marcus Mariota has been largely perceived as very mellow. It’s certainly the vibe he puts off in his public persona.

But with that and other judgments, we’d be wise to tap the brakes until we get to watch him and get to know him a bit more ourselves. Outward behavior and inward approach don’t always match up.

In the football world, it often seems everyone uses every slight as motivation. I’m critical of that because so much of it is imaginary and because I’m a fan of self-motivators.

Yet I’ll admit after reading Austin Murphy’s Sports Illustrated cover story on Mariota, I felt a bit of relief regarding the question of whether he has the fire.

Mariota’s high school coach, a former Utah quarterback named Darnell Arceneaux, said Mariota will likely internalize that he was chosen second to Jameis Winston, the Tampa Bay No. 1 pick he could go head-to-head against on opening day.

“He doesn’t feel the need to make us aware of it, but he’s got this inner fire,” Arceneaux said. “With everyone saying he’s a system quarterback, I think he’s got enough fuel to last him awhile.”

Mariota spoke with Murphy about 'ohana,' the idea that “extended families, and teammates, are bound together.”

For a team in desperate need of leadership, it’s a concept that could do a lot to help create a thriving locker room.