NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- For a quarterback, 7-on-7 work is supposed to be easier than 11-on-11 drills. There is no pass rush. There is no crowd to see over or around. Receivers should win matchups and provide open targets.
In a 7-on-7 drill, he hit Bishop Sankey and then missed on three throws in a row: He missed Hakeem Nicks in the end zone, threw out of bounds to a well-covered Kendall Wright in the back right corner of the end zone and threw a bad pass I think was aimed for Harry Douglas but might have been intended for Delanie Walker behind him.
But in the full team red zone period that followed, Mariota's fuse got re-lit.
A dump off to tight end Craig Stevens created a chance for him to bounce into the end zone. A slant to Douglas for a touchdown. A hard roll out to the right and a dart to Wright at the front corner of the end zone.
Why the trouble in 7-on-7and then the solid play in team?
“Some of that may have been coverage generated,” coach Ken Whisenhunt said. “They’re playing off, sometime in 7-on-7, instead of taking the underneath, you want to make a play. Especially on a night like this, there is a big crowd and you press a little bit.
“When you get into a team situation and it’s first down at the 20 and you get a 6- or 7-yard gain, those are important plays in the red zone. When you’re in the 7-on-7, those feel like, ‘OK, whatever.’ So you want to try to make those [bigger] plays, it was a little bit of that, I think.”