(Left) QB Marcus Mariota, (Right) LB Kwon Alexander
(Left) QB Marcus Mariota, (Right) LB Kwon Alexander

This week’s athlete of the week is surprisingly, a rookie QB. Former Oregon Duck and reigning Heisman winner, now Tennessee Titan QB Marcus Mariota (Yes, I had a grin the entire time I was writing this).

There were many great performances in sports this week but this one stands out solely because of the criticism that Mariota has received since entering the highest level of football. Many believe he’s a product of the Oregon system and figured he would struggle in a pro style offense.

Mariota recorded 209 yards and passing TDs (only the 2nd rookie to ever do that in a pro debut). He threw more TD passes than incomplete passes. Yes, he only threw 16 passes, but the main point is that he looked completely comfortable in the offense. He never looked nervous or overwhelmed in the pro game, while his rival Jameis Winston did not perform so well to say the least.

Mariota (and Winston) still have a lot to prove and will struggle a lot during the season because that’s what comes with rookies, but this game will definitely be a boost in confidence for Mariota moving forward. Stay tuned for next weeks athlete of the week here at Play For Keeps.

-Credits: Bleacher Report (Statistics) and Chris O’Meara of the Associated Press (Photo)

-Melvin Jenkins