Marcus Mariota won’t be running any less in 2017 than he did before he suffered a season-ending broken right fibula last December.
Tennessee Titans coach Mike Mularkey made that proclamation at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis on Wednesday, saying he expects a complete recovery from his starting quarterback, who underwent surgery to have a plate inserted into the leg to assist with the healing process.
“I don’t think so. He’s supposed to have a full recovery from it. That hasn’t been in any discussion as far as running him less, because I think the way we run Marcus is very smart,” Mularkey said. “They’re designed to have everybody blocked. Unless somebody doesn’t get their block, he’s not going to get exposed to unnecessary hits. To lose that threat of his ability to run the ball is a big loss to our offense. Again, we’ll see how he comes out of this, but I expect a full recovery.”
General manager Jon Robinson also touched on Mariota’s recover process Wednesday.
“Football is extremely important to Marcus. He is a tireless worker, and we have no doubts that he will be raring to go next year,” Robinson said.
Mariota is now in a walking boot, according to Mularkey, as he continues to do rehab work in Oregon. The Titans are in regular contact regarding the healing process, Mularkey added, and
“We do a good job of staying in touch with their training staff. We’re made aware of everything as it’s been laid out. We know what’s going on. … He is walking around in a boot. I feel pretty good about it. You’ve got to trust the doctor’s words, and if you know Marcus like we know Marcus, with the way he goes about business, he’ll be prepared,” Mularkey said. “He’s not going to overdo it. He’s been told to be smart about it. I think our number one goal is to make sure he’s under center on opening day. I’m not going to put a time frame on when that first practice is. I can’t do that, because every player is different in how they recover. That’s a difficult thing to do.”
Between designed runs and scrambles, Mariota rushed 60 times in 15 games for 349 yards and two touchdowns last season.
A few weeks ago, Mularkey stated that the Titans might hold Mariota out of their OTA work and not release him to practice until training camp, if need be. In addition to rehab work, Mariota is still studying lots of film on his own.
“He’s doing that right now. He’s got film from last year. He’s constantly working at his art. I’m not concerned about that at all. He’s doing a lot on his own,” Mularkey said.
The coach was also asked at the Combine about the Titans backup quarterback situation, which last year was filled by veteran Matt Cassel, who came to Tennessee on a one-year deal and is an impending free agent. Mularkey said the Titans would like a veteran backup QB, but that it isn’t necessarily a requirement, now that Mariota is entering year three.
“It doesn’t hurt to have veteran leadership in the room, but if it doesn’t happen that way, then it doesn’t happen that way. I think Marcus is getting to a point too where he’s seen enough football where he doesn’t have to have a mentor like he did earlier,” Mularkey said.