Peter King of The MMQB is busting some Marcus Mariota myths. In his latest article, King examines a number of narratives surrounding the Oregon prospect and debunks, or at least lessens, most of them.
The article's well-written but for the most part it doesn't present any new information. The fact that Mariota wasn't asked to do these things doesn't mean he can't learn to do them. The fact that he's quiet in a public interviews in no way means that he lacks the ability to lead. The fact that he's humble and boring doesn't prevent him from being confident. The fact that he hasn't called a play in an NFL huddle is counterbalanced by the fact that he's been working hard at it. All of that.
There's one part where it does stray into new territory: when talking about Mariota's experience changing plays. Scott Frost, his offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, doesn't like the suggestion that he's never done that.
"To say he can't do the things an NFL quarterback can do—I laugh when I hear people say that, and I am keeping track of all the experts who've said it. He changes protections, he slides protections, he shifts protections, he makes reads, he changes calls at the line. Watch our games. We have every protection at Oregon that they have in the NFL. He changed protections at the line seven or eight times a game. He completely changed the play two or three times a game."
That's not something I've seen acknowledged often, certainly not on the record. There's an adjustment period for Mariota, certainly. He has more to learn than Winston does, and Mariota knows that. But that adjustment is not going to be as huge or as disastrous as his worst detractors would have you think.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers can make that adjustment period a lot easier by playing to his strengths and adjusting the offense. Koetter has the connections to find out the best way to do so, given that he's worked with Oregon head coach Mark Helfrich for an extended period. This is not just idle speculation, either: Robert Griffin III, Cam Newton and Colin Kaepernick came from similarly limited college offenses, but had a lot of success early in their careers in offenses that played to their strengths. Newton has since successfully transitioned to a normal, pro-style offense, while Griffin and Kaepernick have been less successful -- but the basic concept, of adjusting to a rookie early while transitioning him to bigger concepts later, that approach workable.
If Marcus Mariota is the pick, I wouldn't worry too much about his transition to the NFL. The Bucs will know how to handle it.