As Marcus Mariota eased back into team drills this week – about a half dozen snaps total – it was a sign that the overall prognosis for the Titans starting quarterback is where both he and the team want it to be.
Both Mariota and Coach Mike Mularkey confirmed after the Titans’ final organized team activity Thursday that they expect the quarterback to be 100 percent by the start of training camp next month. That said, the Titans won’t push Mariota to do any extra team drills in next week’s mandatory mini-camp. Mariota underwent surgery to have a plate placed in his right leg after breaking his fibula last Christmas Eve, and has been working to return for nearly six months now.
“I don’t think so. Why now? He’ll be ready when he comes back for camp,” Mularkey said. “We’ll have a lot to time in camp. We’ll have a lot of practices He won’t be on the injury list when we come back. So I don’t know why we would push it, especially in June.”
Mariota is eager to be green-lighted for camp as well.
“I feel good. My body is getting to the point where it is close to 100 percent, and once training camp rolls around, I’ll be good to go,” he said. “I’ll be ready to go. I’ll be 100 percent. This next month or so before camp starts will be about me getting my body conditioned and ready for camp.”
While the throwing aspect of Mariota’s game appears to be normal – at least as normal as 7-on-7 drills can be – there is still the scrambling and running part of the quarterback’s game that remains somewhat untested. In one drill Tuesday in 7-on-7, Mariota did do a jogging scramble and, while not nearly at top speed, showed no ill effects from the surgery in his gait.
“It’s coming back. I think the coach is letting us do some scramble drills in 7-on-7. It’s helped me, and it’s helped the receivers,” Mariota said. “For me, it’s part of my rehab, getting out and moving around a little bit. For the guys, it helps that everyone kind of understands the scramble rules and goes and makes plays. When that happens, it’s good. I feel my running game is getting closer every day. That’s really just a mindset to get healthy every day.”
Mariota will spend the break between mini-camp and training camp continuing to work and rehab in order to fulfill the promise and expectation of being able to practice without restrictions in training camp – including running.
“It’s more about feeling comfortable doing it. Right now at this point in time half speed or two-third speed, I feel real good. It’s just a matter of getting to 100 percent,” he said.