Wake Up Call: Dungy Likens Mariota To Rodgers

Photo courtesy of USA Today

Photo courtesy of USA Today

Opinions vary on Marcus Mariota, but the ones that like him seem to like him a whole lot.

We know that Chip Kelly has a soft spot for the Oregon signal-caller, recently likening his ability to process information to Peyton Manning‘s. Tony Dungy, meanwhile, compared Mariota to another elite signal-caller: Aaron Rodgers. 

“I think Marcus has a lot of the same skill set. He has the same drive and determination. I just really think the world of him as a person. I just think he’s special,” said Dungy, via JoeBucsFan.com. “If I watched Jameis [Winston] as much, and knew as much about him, I’d probably have a similar opinion but I just think Marcus is going to be sensational in the NFL.”

As for the idea that Mariota isn’t pro-ready because of the system he played in college?

“They said the same thing about Aaron Rodgers and he went late in the first round [that] year. And the feelling was that Alex Smith was a little more ready. I think Marcus will adapt and he’ll be fine.”

This isn’t the first time Dungy has compared Mariota to the Green Bay quarterback. In December, he told Dan Patrick that Mariota is “Aaron Rodgers in the waiting.”

Dungy is very familiar with Mariota’s work: His son, Eric, has played wide receiver at Oregon since 2011. Maybe he’s biased, maybe he’s just well-informed, but he’s definitely a fan. At some point, he’ll likely share his opinion of Mariota with his former team, the Bucs, who hold the No. 1 overall pick.

Meanwhile, the Mariota-to-Philly campaign has made its way to the quarterback. Vai Sikahema recently presented Mariota with a 97.5 The Fanatic #DoTheDeal t-shirt, inspired by Sal Paolantonio’s comments during the football roundtable. The video is below (h/t NJ..com):


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Jeff McLane of the Inquirer looks into the possibility of Seahawks CB Byron Maxwell signing with the Eagles in the offseason:

It says here that the Eagles should make a concentrated push for Maxwell – a young, ascending corner who has the physical traits (6-foot-1, 207 pounds) and man-to-man, press-coverage skills that Chip Kelly and his defensive coaches covet.

There will certainly be a number the Eagles have in mind that will make them bow out in the sweepstakes for Maxwell. They shouldn’t grossly overpay for a cornerback who isn’t yet among the elite like his counterpart, Richard Sherman.

But they have the salary-cap space. They will likely have one or two starting vacancies to fill. And they have such a glaring need to upgrade in the secondary, especially at a premium position like cornerback, that to not even explore the possibility of signing Maxwell would suggest hubris.

Jimmy Kempski of Philly Voice checks in on another defensive player who could pique the Eagles’ interest in free agency:

During the Eagles’ 2014 preseason game against the Steelers, Adam Caplan of ESPN casually threw out that Jason Worilds would have signed with the Eagles if the Steelers hadn’t used the transition tag on him:

That doesn’t just indicate interest from the Eagles. Rather, it appears that the Eagles and Worilds had mutual interest.

The Steelers paid Worilds $9,754,000 on the transition tag in 2014, and would be on the hook for 120% of his 2014 salary if they tagged him again. That might be too rich for their blood.

Worilds would be a good fit in Philly. The Steelers asked Worilds to drop into coverage quite a bit, and he would form a versatile OLB tandem with Connor Barwin, which would allow the Eagles to be creative in their defensive scheme.


We’ll round up the latest Eagles draft buzz.