In the peanut gallery…

Allison Mueller

Each week sports reporters Matthew Lambert and Sam Thiel will face off on a hot topic in sports. The world of sports is changing quickly and constantly, but we want to slow it down and take a better look at the juiciest gossip, scandal, rumor or issue that is making headlines this week. Lambert and Thiel will take different sides and battle it out, telling you why you they are right.

This week’s topic: Mariota vs. Winston

On Sept. 13, Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston and Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota made their NFL debuts against each other, with Mariota’s Titans winning 42-14. This week, Matthew Lambert and Sam Thiel voice their opinions about which quarterback will win the Offensive Rookie of the Year. Let’s talk about it… (Recap by Sam Thiel)

Matthew Lambert/Winonan

After Sunday’s Tennessee Titans and Tampa Bay Buccaneers blowout, it’s easy to hand the Offensive Rookie of the Year award to Marcus Mariota. After all he, once again, destroyed Jameis Winston’s team. I’m hesitant to give out the award so soon.

One of the main reasons why I believe Winston will win OROY is Winston’s offense is much better than Mariota’s and Winston will put up bigger numbers. Are you really going to try and convince me that Kendall Wright, Dorial Green-Beckham and Bishop Sankey are better than Vincent Jackson, Mike Evans and Doug Martin? In the immortal words of Tony Soprano, “Fugetaboutit.” Winston threw for 210 yards and two touchdowns against Tennessee, but was overshadowed by Mariota’s monster performance, which leads to my next point.

It’s one game. Say it out loud. It’s one game. Do you write off the Seahawks because they lost their first game? Is Adrian Peterson not elite after one game? Since the Patriots won their first game, do we crown them Super Bowl Champions again? Absolutely not! Winston plays in the NFC South, the armpit of the NFL. It’s filled with horrible defenses, inconsistent offenses, and, even though Tampa Bay had two wins last year, they have a real chance to win the division. What I’m trying to say is, let’s not overreact.

All in all, Winston is a model of consistency who will thrive under head coach Lovie Smith’s offense with a great supporting cast and weak division around him. Remember people, Mariota isn’t a champion, but Winston is. That counts for something and voters will recognize that as the Bucs are going for the playoffs and the Titans look to secure a top three draft pick next April.

Never count out the Crabman.

Sam Thiel/Winonan

Marcus Mariota has a lot of game. After throwing for 4,454 yards and 42 touchdowns last season for the University of Oregon, Mariota showed why he is the reigning Heisman trophy winner in Week 1 of the NFL season.

Against Jameis Winston, Mariota shined, throwing for 209 yards and four touchdowns. Winston, on the other hand, threw for 210 yards and a pair of scores but tossed two interceptions as well.

Tampa Bay definitely has better weapons in the wide receiver and running back department, but as for quarterbacks, Tennessee has the advantage.

Yes, when it comes to championships in college, the scoreboard reads: Winston 1, Mariota 0. But that was college. Many NFL rookies do better in college; just ask any player from the University of Alabama.

But it’s a marathon, not the sprint of a 40-yard dash at the combine. And Mariota will have a better career over time. Even though the Titans are in the AFC South divison and will not win a division title as long as Andrew Luck is around in Indianapolis, Winston has been heavily scrutinized by the media throughout his college career with the crab legs incident and other charges. NFL players, especially quarterbacks, who were covered thoroughly in college, have not fared well in their professional careers. For example, Johnny Manziel, Cam Newton, Tim Tebow, Robert Griffin III. The list goes on.

Mariota, on the other hand, flew under the radar during his three years in Eugene. According to ESPN, Mariota’s worst incident off the football field was getting a speeding ticket when he drove 80 in a 55 mph zone after delivering a speech at a Boys & Girls Club. That’s it.

Neither team is good, but only one quarterback will fly high this season. And the last time I checked, a crab couldn’t fly.