Michael Bennett might be the only Seahawk looking forward to facing Marcus Mariota today
RENTON, Wash. – Michael Bennett has been waiting a long time to hit Marcus Mariota.
On Sunday, he’ll get his chance – though he’ll need some help from the rest of the defense if the Seattle Seahawks hope to get past the Tennessee Titans and their remarkably mobile quarterback at Nissan Stadium in a 1:05 p.m. game that will be broadcast on Q13 FOX.
Asked about the Titans this week, Seahawk after Seahawk sang the praises of the former Oregon Ducks Heisman Trophy winner.
“First off, he’s a terrific athlete all around – he can do everything,” coach Pete Carroll said. “He can run, he can throw it – he throws the ball on the move very well, finding guys open in the field. He’s a good scrambler, effective in the run and pass. And he’s adept runner, he’s real fast, under 4.5, so he’s got the kind of speed that can really make you pay if you give him an opening.
“They’ve structed the offense around that.”
Two games into his third season, Mariota has already put up big numbers, completing 546 of 889 passes for 6,715, and throwing 46 touchdowns against 20 interceptions. He’s also carried the ball 103 times for 651 yards, with five rushing touchdowns.
Even more impressive are Mariota’s red-zone numbers. Last season, he completed 34 of 54 passes inside the opponent’s 20, throwing 18 touchdowns and no interceptions.
“His red-zone numbers are phenomenal as far as touchdowns and turnovers and all that,” Carroll said. “And that’s a really good sign for what you have. The guys got a great (consciousness), he’s got great awareness in the most difficult part of the field to throw the football.
“And he’s really good at it, really efficient.”
Though Richard Sherman’s time at Stanford didn’t overlap with Mariota’s at Oregon, Sherman keeps an eye on the Pac-12.
“I think a lot of people pegged him as a one-trick pony coming out of Oregon – obviously they have their system that they run,” Sherman said. “I think he’s developed, he goes through his whole progression. He stays poised in the pocket. I think he uses his legs less nowadays. A lot of the time in the drop-back one single-back passing game, he does a great job of scanning the defense, just taking what they give him.
“So, that all comes with time for a young quarterback, and I think that’s coming for him.”
Bennett’s never played against Mariota either, but says they know each other well because Bennett spends the offseason at his home in Mariota’s native Hawaii and they hang out with the same people.
“I’m gonna have fun tackling him, obviously,” Bennett said. “Every time I see him I’m like ‘man, I can’t wait,’ and he’s like, ‘you’re not on the schedule this year.’ But I’m looking like, ‘Marcus is on the schedule this year!’
“So, I finally get to hit Marcus. I couldn’t do it in college because it’s illegal for NFL players to go on in college and tackle people. It feels good to finally get a chance to hit him in a game.”
The Gameday pregame show begins at 12:30 p.m. on Q13 FOX.