Tennessee Titans coach Mike Vrabel and his staff received plenty of congratulations all around for their game plan in helping the short-handed team defeat the Houston Texans on Sunday.
Now the question could be what might Vrabel do for an encore, because the status of quarterback Marcus Mariota is still uncertain for a second straight week, as Tennessee travels to face undefeated Jacksonville this Sunday.
“Marcus (Mariota)’s status is probably the same as it was Friday or Saturday, when we felt like we were going to go with Blaine (Gabbert), as of today. We’ll see where he is on Wednesday, but I would say his status is exactly as it was on Friday. There are some things he can do, and there’s some throws that he can’t really comfortably make. So, we’ll see where he’s at as this week goes on.”
Mariota has been bothered by numbness in his throwing arm due to an elbow injury sustained in the season opener. To hear Vrabel on Monday, it sounds as if the Titans don’t really know how long it will take before Mariota’s situation improves.
“I think there’s a lot of possibilities. I think the treatment that he’s doing with Todd (Toriscelli) and our trainers could help,” Vrabel said. “But, it could be something that actually, like you just mentioned, that it gets better overnight, and it gets better tomorrow. So, that’s kind of where we’re at. We’re waiting to see. Everyday is a new day.”
Vrabel said he is not worried about Mariota having long-term issues with the injury, and indicated that he is comfortable with Blaine Gabbert at quarterback until Mariota is healthy enough and ready to return.
“No, I’m not worried. You guys see me every day” Vrabel said. “We go to the next guy, and that means whether it’s Marcus (Mariota), Taylor (Lewan), Jack (Conklin), you guys have seen that, right? We can all agree on that. I think the team knows that we’re going to go to the next guy until that guy is ready. Then when that guy is ready, we’ll put him in the game.”
There could be some good news on the horizon for the Titans, as tackle Taylor Lewan could be cleared from the concussion protocol and able to play this week. The Titans are also hopeful regarding the situations with Dennis Kelly (illness) and even Jack Conklin, who is making his way back from surgery for a torn ACL in his left knee.
“Jack will probably do a little bit more this week. Jack will do more this week,” Vrabel said. “Taylor is I would say progressing well. You don’t get the clearance until you practice and then you see an outside doctor. I can’t say that he’s cleared, but I’d say that he’s progressing well through the return-to-play protocol.
“Dennis is out of the hospital, but no update on Dennis.”
The Titans re-signed wide receiver Nick Williams to the 53-man roster. Williams had a strong training camp, but suffered a hamstring injury against Pittsburgh in preseason and was released in final cuts.
The Titans waived two players from the 53-man roster on Monday – placing both receiver Cameron Batson and tight end Anthony Firkser on waivers. Firkser played on Sunday for the Titans, his first NFL action. Batson was inactive for both his games on the 53-man roster.
The Titans are also planning to re-sign cornerback Kenneth Durden to the 53-man roster. He was waived Saturday to make room for tackle Tyler Marz.