Tennessee Titans backup quarterback Matt Cassel suffered a thumb injury in Tuesday’s practice and will undergo surgery to have a pin placed in the thumb on his throwing hand.
“Matt injured his throwing thumb. He will need to have a pin put in it and probably will be out about six weeks. He should be ready to go for training camp,” Titans coach Mike Mularkey said after Wednesday’s open practice.
Cassel was re-signed by the Titans after last season to be Marcus Mariota’s primary backup and was to operate the first-team offense in 11-on-11 drills throughout the off-season work, while Mariota heals from a broken fibula sustained last Christmas Eve.
The Titans won’t immediately add another quarterback to the roster for the remainder of the off-season, leaving operation of the offense in team drills to third-stringer Alex Tanney and undrafted rookie Tyler Ferguson.
“I think we’re good (there),” Mularkey said.
The Titans had already adjusted their off-season work to include more 7-on-7 drills to allow Mariota to work with the first unit.
“Cassel is still around. He is still in meetings. He’s doing everything he can to be around the team,” Mariota said. “I think it gives other guys opportunities. It gives Tyler an opportunity to show what he can do. It gives Alex a little more reps in practice. It is what it is. It happens. It is unfortunate, because Cassel was doing a great job. But it gives some opportunities for these younger guys.”
Tanney, who has spent most of the past two years in camp an on the practice squad with the Titans is taking a “next man up” approach.
“Every rep counts and you have to take advantage of it,” Tanney said. “I just try to learn everything I can in the classroom and bring it to the field.”
Likewise, Ferguson, an undrafted rookie from Western Kentucky, is grateful for the chance to get meaningful off-season reps, despite how it came about.
“Matt has been a huge help to me,” Ferguson said. “I’ve been getting some good reps in OTAs up to this point, and it allows me to get a little more, some work with the twos and a couple of older guys sprinkled in there that I wasn’t getting reps with. So I’m going to try to take full advantage of it.”
Other players who were present but did not take part in Wednesday’s practice included receiver Tajae Sharpe and defensive linemen Mehdi Abdesmad, Karl Klug, Sylvester Williams and linebacker Kevin Dodd.