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Marcus Mariota: 'Nice to be comfortable' in Year 2 with Titans

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Rookies arriving to the first day of organized team activities are often "a nervous wreck," as Tennessee Titans coach Mike Mularkey put it Tuesday.

For quarterback Marcus Mariota last season, the feeling had to have the added complexity of being the No. 2 overall pick expected to revive a franchise. On top of that, he had to beat out a six-game starter in Zach Mettenberger when he arrived at OTAs in 2015.

A year later at Tennessee's OTAs, Mariota is looking to build upon a solid rookie season, and Mettenberger has since been waived and claimed in San Diego.

If there's a major difference in Mariota's first time at OTAs to his second, it's the quarterback's comfort level -- with his teammates, with his offense, and with his standing as an unquestioned mouthpiece for the offense.

"Coming out here for the second year, it's a lot more comfortable just because it's all a familiar setting," Mariota said. "Last season was brand new -- brand new city, brand new team. After being in it for a year, it's nice to be comfortable."

Even if Mariota is more comfortable in his role and place with the Titans, he doesn't expect to shed his understated demeanor. Anything else would be unnatural.

Even so, teammates have said he's taken a more vocal role. Though Mariota says he doesn't feel any different from that standpoint, he'll believe his teammates if that's what they're seeing and hearing from him.

"I just try to be myself," Mariota said. "The guys, I think, respect that. I'm not going to try to be anything I'm not. Whatever they need me to be, I'll do my best to be that."

Mariota started from Day 1 with the Titans, completing 13-of-15 passes in the opener for 209 yards with four touchdowns in a 42-14 rout of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and fellow rookie quarterback Jameis Winston, the only player to be drafted ahead of him.

His rookie season was a little rocky after that, including four consecutive losses and then injuries that cost him four games. Still, Mariota finished with 2,818 passing yards and 19 touchdowns despite going 3-9 as a starter.

Now, Mariota says he's closer to his ideal playing weight of 225 pounds, up from about 220 a year ago. He said he hopes the added weight and a second year in the offseason program will lead to more durability.

Meanwhile, he's also in the role of shepherding new players, both rookies and those new to the offense.

"You go through a whole year, you experience a lot of different things, so you know a lot more," Mariota said. "From that standpoint, I feel like I can help these guys out, especially the young guys coming up. From that standpoint, I can help with knowledge."