Eight years later, Marcus Mariota is finally in the NovaCare Complex after the Eagles signed him in free agency. The QB spoke to reporters on Wednesday and talked about his commitment to the role he hopes to have in Philly and his excitement to works with so many familiar coaches and, of course, Jalen Hurts. After dealing with a knee injury last season in Atlanta, Mariota said that he’s good to go.
“Knee feels great. I had to go in and get it cleaned up, spent a couple months just rehabbing, and last month or so I’ve been able to get back to training and body feels good.”
Here’s what else the quarterback had to say:
On signing with the Eagles
Mariota has a lot of relationships with members of the offensive coaching staff — QB Coach Alex Tanney, TE Coach Jason Michael, Passing Game Coordinator Kevin Patullo — which factored into his decision. He joked that he’s not ready to call Alex Tanney “Coach” just yet given they were teammates not too long ago. The QB noted that he played with Special Teams Coordinator Michael Clay at Oregon, as well.
“At the end of the day, I was really looking for an opportunity to be part of a team that will just enjoy playing the game that I love, and the relationships that I have here was very important to me.”
He talked about coming to a team with a clear starting QB in Jalen Hurts, and acknowledged that their similar style of play did factor into his decision. Mariota said that he has a chance to come in and help a younger player out.
“I’m at a point in my career where I just want to enjoy the game. I want to have fun doing it. The scheme is very exciting for me and the fact of the matter is, I feel like I can help Jalen. And, if we can make Jalen a better player, this team’s gonna be better. And to be apart of a team that was a play away from winning the Super Bowl, was an opportunity that I couldn’t pass up.”
The QB later talked about the offensive line and how from afar he’s always been impressed with Jason Kelce and how he’s able to communicate and get everyone on the same page. And then to be anchored by Lane Johnson and Jordan Mailata is exciting because they are so physically talented.
On what he brings to the locker room
Mariota said that now that he has eight years of experience in the league, his role is to just provide information and share experiences with the younger guys — guys that are eager to learn, like A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith.
“As a guy that’s played in the league now for eight years, you know, I’ve been cut, I’ve been a starter, we’ve won playoff games, I’ve been benched. So, I just really believe that I can relate to a lot of guys. And, to be able to just continue to build that chemistry in the locker room and just be a voice and make an impact anyway that I can.
But, I think specifically for the quarterback position, ups and downs, you’re going to face those throughout your career and just being a guy for Jalen [Hurts] and just being a resource anyway that I can to hopefully make him better and make the team better.”
On almost being drafted by the Eagles
Mariota was asked if heading into the 2015 NFL Draft he thought that Chip Kelly was going to make the trade up to get him at No. 1 overall.
“Well, there was a lot of different scenarios and it was such an interesting time for me because as the process goes, that your agent will sit down with you, usually the night before the draft and be like, ‘Hey, this is where I think you’ll end up.’ My agent at the time was like, ‘I have no idea, so just be prepared for everything.’
We really didn’t have any idea where I would go, but I’m grateful for my opportunity that I had in Tennessee, and just appreciate the support from all the teams during that time,”
The QB later said it’s easy all these years later to play the ‘what if’ game in regards to how his career might have been different had he been drafted by his college coach into an offense he was familiar, but he’s still just grateful for the Titans and the opportunity he had. Mariota noted that he appreciates the time he had with the Raiders and Falcons, as well, and wouldn’t trade those experiences for anything.
On his 2022 season with the Falcons
“I think from the standpoint of me, I appreciate the opportunity I had there. To be able to be a starter again after sitting for a couple seasons, I just had a lot of fun and at the end of the day it didn’t work out the way that anybody wanted it to, and I really just try and focus on being the best version of myself for that team day in and day out — and it’s no different here. So, at the end of the day, things didn’t work out, but I’m excited to be here and I can’t wait to get things started.”