Why did the Commanders sign Marcus Mariota?

Of all the signings in the first two weeks of free agency, there was one Commanders’ signing that surprised me the most.

Perhaps might that one signing also have surprised many others who follow the Commanders? No doubt, the name that surprised me most was quarterback Marcus Mariota.

Drafted second overall in the 2015 NFL draft, it has not gone well for Mariota, who was never able to live up to the expectations placed upon him. Thus, the former Oregon Duck has played for four NFL franchises, and the Commanders will be number five.

The former Tennessee Titan, Oakland Raider, Atlanta Falcon, and Philadelphia Eagle will turn 31 in October. When he was signed by Washington, speculation immediately rose about the future of Sam Howell in Washington. Sure enough, two days later, Howell was traded to the Seahawks.

So why would the Commanders sign a quarterback who will be playing for his fourth team in the last four NFL seasons?

Former Redskins cornerback Fred Smoot, during the latest “Get Loud” podcast, was recently asked a very similar question by Michael English. Smoot responded, “Veteran, teacher, nurturer, big brother, uncle, protector. He was brought here to re-ensure and reinforce coaching. He was brought here to teach a younger quarterback what NOT to do,” emphasized Smoot.

“Perfect timing by the team… a former No. 2 pick going to be helping another No. 2 pick figure it out. As a person who had Darrell Green waiting on me when I got here and Champ Bailey, made it easy for Fred Smoot to step in and be a starter from day one. I had great DB coaching, but I had even greater player coaching.”

“You don’t need to be the best player to be a good teacher. Marcus is in more than a better place to teach this kid everything he needs to know about this game. (He can teach) every responsibility on the field, off of the field. How to not only be a pro, but almost be a politician, because that is what you are as the quarterback.”

No, it did not end well for Mariota in Atlanta (2022). Yet, his Offensive coordinator, Brian Johnson, in Philadelphia for 2023, must have seen enough good in Mariota last year in Philly to give the green light to Quinn and Peters to bring Mariota to Washington.

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