When Marcus Mariota signed with the Philadelphia Eagles this offseason, it was assumed that his role would be as the direct backup to Jalen Hurts. However, his future with the team became a bit murkier with a lackluster preseason performance against the Cleveland Browns Thursday.
Mariota was significantly outplayed by 2023 sixth-round pick Tanner McKee, which has left many wondering where he’ll stand on the depth chart come Week 1 of the regular season.
Mariota went 9-of-17 for 86 yards and was sacked three times during the 18-18 tie on Thursday. While the 2014 Heisman Trophy winner said that his play was “sloppy” among other things, Eagles coach Nick Sirianni said that the team is using the preseason and training camp as a period of finding out what Mariota does well, what he sees well, and what looks good to him.
“I know he didn’t play the way he wanted to tonight,” Sirianni said, via Pro Football Talk. “I wouldn’t say he struggled the last game. You guys might have said that. I didn’t say that. He ran around and made some good plays and moved the ball really well with him in there against Baltimore. So tonight, yeah obviously not up to his standard, but it’s about us finding what works for him. And that’s just us learning him. That’s us working together to figure that out.”
Sirianni is at least aware of Mariota’s shortcomings and didn’t make any excuses for the quarterback’s play on Thursday. It’s pretty clear by his comments that the Eagles thought Mariota played well in the team’s first preseason game against the Baltimore Ravens, and for whatever reason that didn’t translate against Cleveland.
It remains to be seen if Mariota will ultimately end up being the team’s No. 2 quarterback heading into the regular season, but this stretch of hot and cold play is exactly why he was benched for Desmond Ridder in Atlanta last season.