There was some concern about Marcus Mariota’s health after he took a hard hit on the game-winning drive Sunday against Cincinnati as he was tackled from behind by Geno Atkins and landed on his left shoulder.
Mariota’s head also hit the turf and twisted his ankle as well, but he stayed in the game and finished with a game-winning TD pass to DeMarco Murray with 36 seconds left to play.
The good news for Mariota is that he did not have a concussion, and showed no symptoms that would have landed him in the league’s concussion protocol.
“He didn’t have to (go through the protocol),” Titans coach Mike Mularkey said. “We did everything we could to check everything out, make sure he was fine. We do that with every player that gets injured during the game.” What Mariota did have was a bit of a sore shoulder and an ankle sprain. But neither of those injuries are expected to keep him out of the lineup when the Titans travel to Pittsburgh for a Thursday night nationally televised game.
“We had him checked out medically by our staff. He’s got a sore shoulder, a little bit of a mild ankle sprain,” Mularkey said. “But with the way we’re going to practice this week, I have to see how he goes through the walk through tonight, but he’ll be taking all the reps tonight. We had him thoroughly checked out.”
Mularkey said the Titans, who gave up four sacks Sunday, have to protect Mariota better, but that they can’t worry about the quarterback being in danger.
“You’ve got to think about – the ones we’ve designed, he hasn’t been, there hasn’t been any problems,” Mularkey said. “It’s when he’s having to escape out of the pocket or in the pocket, it’s been all about dropback passes. So, I don’t know how you can change anything, he’s got to do that to help us win games. We’ve got to dropback to throw the football, we’ve got to protect him.”
Mariota was officially listed as limited on the Titans injury report Monday with an ankle injury.
As for tight end Delanie Walker, he was limited with a wrist injury that he suffered on a hit by Cincinnati’s George Iloka that looked to include a deliberate shot at a defenseless receiver. There was no flag on the hit.
“I think to me, anytime you hit a defenseless player, it’s malicious. He was defenseless, his defender knew he didn’t have the ball. It’s like a free shot,” Mularkey said. “We’re trying to protect players, that’s all we keep talking about and then that happens. At some point, that will be addressed at the owner’s meetings. We’ve got to do something about it. If we really want to protect them, we need to start throwing the flags on those plays.”\
Mularkey also said that guard Quinton Spain, who has missed the past two games with turf toe, should practice Tuesday and play Thursday if he does not have a setback.