Marcus Mariota
(Ronald C. Modra/Sports Imagery/Getty Images)

Titans Defensive Coordinator Dick LeBeau hopes his zone blitz 3-4 defensive unit can’t stop his own quarterback, Marcus Mariota. He understands how vital his role is to prepare the rookie signal caller for life in the NFL. LeBeau knows this business better than just about anyone, if Marcus Mariota struggles the current coaching staff may not be around to see the next rebuild.

“I am going to do my best to show him what an NFL defense is going to look like,” LeBeau said with a smile on Tuesday, via The Tennessean. “I was glad we drafted him where I won’t have to face him. I hope we can’t stop him on the practice field. But we’re going to try to.”

Titans defensive players Jason McCourty and Derrick Morgan also weighed in on the matter.

“He is still a rookie quarterback, so I think our job is to give him as many looks as we possibly can in practice to prepare him for the game,” cornerback Jason McCourty said. “As a defense, the more we can try and beat up on those guys and intercept as many passes and just try and confuse them as much as possible throughout training camp and throughout the OTAs, I think the better we are going to be as a team and the better he and Zach are going to be as players.”

Said linebacker Derrick Morgan: “You have to break him in, but you don’t want to steal all of his confidence. I think it is a great defense for him to go against, being our defense is pretty complicated in the looks and the schemes that we give.”

The transition to the NFL will be a difficult one as Mariota comes from an entirely different system during his time at Oregon. I have often compared Mariota to draft busts Akili Smith and Andre Ware. Smith was another star quarterback from Oregon getting selected third overall from the Bengals. Nevertheless Dick LeBeau and head coach Ken Wisenhunt hope to develop the rookie quarterback just as they did in Pittsburgh with Ben Roethlisberger. Wisenhunt was the offensive coordinator during the Steelers superbowl run in 2005.