NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Put it all in a flashing neon context frame: These are just organized team activities, there are no pads, there is no contact.
But Tennessee Titans rookie quarterback Marcus Mariota is looking more comfortable than I imagined he would at this stage. Last week I pointed to some tight throws that required anticipation. Tuesday I thought he threw some very nice balls on the move.
Quarterbacks coach John McNulty said Mariota’s ability to throw on the move comes from a very natural, easy athleticism.
"He never gets his feet kind of out of the cylinder, so to speak, where other guys get overextended or get themselves in bad position," McNulty said of Mariota staying balanced and over his feet whether in the pocket or needing to throw on the move. "He's so naturally kind of fluid, his feet are always set and if there are times when he's not -- not that he's out of position but he's set to the left and he sees something flash right -- he can just flick the ball without having to flip the whole operation, and he hits people accurately to the other side.
"When you are on the move, you talk about trying to get your shoulders square or the ball is kind of going to tail away from you a little bit. You don't ever want to throw back across your body, you know those type of things. The guy is natural. The fact that he is always in a football position, even for a quarterback with that kind of feet up underneath him, set.
"He can just make those throws without having to get shoulders, feet, hips, everything aligned to make a throw, he can flick the ball to somebody without getting set, on the move and it will hit them right in the face."
McNulty and the Titans have to balance being patient with Mariota with working to accelerate his growth.
So far, McNulty said they have not pumped the brakes on installation.
"The fact that we’ve been able to handle it makes it a lot easier," McNulty said. "There hasn’t been any point where we’ve said, 'OK guys this is too much.' He’s been eating it up pretty quickly."