Saints’ Heisman-winning rookie quarterback woes on defense end at Marcus Mariota


In past seasons, as well as this one, the New Orleans Saints have had problems containing Heisman Trophy winning rookie quarterbacks.  Some fans across the Who Dat Nation who have been paying close attention will be the first ones to admit that they get a tad bit nervous when their team is set to face a first-year passer.

Take Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III for example.  Not only did the Saints allow Griffin to completely dismantle their defense in 2012, but it was his very first game in the NFL, and it was in front of a New Orleans home crowd in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

Of course, we remember the head-scratching loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in this year’s Saints home opener.  Rookie quarterback Jameis Winston finished 14 of 21 for 207 yards and a score.  He added a rushing touchdown as well.

Next on the agenda is Tennessee Titans rookie quarterback and 2014 Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota, who has missed the past two games with a knee injury.  Looking at Mariota’s college resume and his Week 1 historical performance to kick off his first year in the pros, he’s perfectly capable of picking apart any defense thrown his way — it’s in his blood.

However, with Mariota in a knee brace and not at 100%, the Saints woes on defense when facing Heisman-winning rookie quarterbacks ends here.  Of course, he cannot be underestimated, so the Saints must be prepared to face him at his best.

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Without linebackers Hau’oli Kikaha and Dannell Ellerbe, who have officially been ruled out for New Orleans, the Mariota test just got a little more difficult.  It’s all about preparation and keeping the rookie contained.  It’ll take an A+ effort to do so, which is what should be happening every week.  But with the luxury of an electric home crowd and Mariota coming off a knee injury, expect the Saints’ defense to welcome the rookie to the NFL in the worst way possible.  The momentum is clearly in New Orleans’ favor at the moment — it wasn’t against Griffin or Winston.  Expect that momentum to continue on through Sunday.