Quarterback Marcus Mariota sounded much more optimistic about his chances of playing Monday night against the Indianapolis Colts than he did a week ago when he missed last week’s loss in Miami due to a left hamstring injury.
“I’m just going to take it day-by-day, see how I feel. Hopefully, towards the end of the week, I get more on my plate and I feel comfortable to try and play on Monday,” Mariota said.
Mariota was asked if he felt good about his chances of playing Monday night and replied, “Absolutely.”
The quarterback said he was able to do a little bit more on Wednesday than he did last week as he tries to make his way back from an injury sustained two weeks ago in a loss at Houston.
“I feel a lot better. I’ve got to give a lot of credit to the athletic staff, the training staff here. They’ve done a great job and I’m feeling good,” Mariota said. “I was able to participate in a good amount of practice. I wasn’t able to do everything, but being able to be out here with the guys, doing some stuff, was big.”
Titans coach Mike Mularkey said Wednesday that Mariota has to show the ability to move around in order to have a chance of playing on Monday Night Football.
“He’s got to be able to move around really pretty good to be able to play and not put himself in a position that he’s going to re-injure himself. He’s got to show that by the end of the week,” Mularkey said.
When asked what he has to do in order to have a chance to play and to be effective, Mariota said he has to be able to move well enough to do the routine aspects of the job without having to think about the injury.
“Really from that standpoint, as well as just getting the ball back to the running backs. You want to be able to go out there and not think about it and just go out there and play,” he said. “Making sure the ball is getting back to the running backs at good depths, making sure my drop backs, everything within the pocket is good and I can move around to make some of those plays that are required.”
Meanwhile, Matt Cassel, who got the start in the Titans’ 16-10 loss to the Dolphins last week, is still preparing and hoping to perform better than last week in case he is under center for a second straight week as the starter.
“You’ve got to get ready to play. I don’t know what the situation will be as it progresses throughout the week, but I’ve got to be ready to play, and build on what I did last week and get better obviously,” Cassel said.
The Titans and Colts both enter the game 2-3 overall, and Tennessee has the added burden of having lost 11 straight and 16 of 17 to their AFC South rival.
Left tackle Taylor Lewan remains day-to-day with a left knee injury, and was held out of practice Wednesday by Mularkey, who said it was his decision for Lewan not to practice.
Also, receiver Corey Davis and safety Johnathan Cyprien have both been ruled out again this week. Davis might have a chance to return this week, while Cyprien will be out until after the Titans’ bye week, according to Mularkey.
Officially, because they play Monday night, the Titans do not have to release an injury report until Thursday.