Tennessee Titans coach Mike Vrabel said Friday that he expects to use both his quarterbacks in Sunday’s home opener against the Houston Texans.
Marcus Mariota, who did not throw during the open portion of practice Friday for the second straight day, is questionable for Sunday’s game. He suffered an elbow injury last Sunday on a hit from William Hayes while carrying out a fake on a run-pass option play.
For the past two days, Blaine Gabbert has been getting work to be ready to go.
“We’re evaluating. We anticipate both of those guys playing in the game,” Vrabel said. “We’re going to have to do a lot of things to win this game, and I would anticipate both of those guys playing at some point in time. Marcus is going to do everything he can to get ready. Every player is going to do everything they can to get ready on Sunday. That’s what our job is as pro football players and coaches, to exhaust all resources, time and energy to get ready to play in the game.”
Vrabel called Mariota’s elbow injury was “stagnant as far as improvement.” On Wednesday, Mariota told reporters he still had tingling in his throwing arm.
Gabbert said he stays in his routine, regardless if the situation dictates him as a starter or a backup.
“The beautiful thing about being in the profession for an extended period of time is having a routine, and that routine never changes. Once you start the first regular season game, you know what you’re going to do every day leading up to the game. Regardless if you’re the starter or a backup, that routine never changes,” Gabbert said this week. “That’s the routine I’ve always fallen back on.”
No matter if Mariota or Gabbert is under center, the Titans quarterback will be operating behind a patchwork offensive line that will be missing both tackles.
Left tackle Taylor Lewan was ruled out with a concussion after being out all week Lewan was knocked out on a hit by the Dolphins’ Andre Branch last week on an interception return. Right tackle Jack Conklin remains out as he recovers from ACL surgery on his left knee in January. His replacement, Dennis Kelly, was out the past two days with an illness and is listed as questionable. On Friday, tight end Luke Stocker surfaced on the injury report with a calf injury.
Whoever plays at quarterback will be playing behind a makeshift offensive line that will be missing left tackle Taylor Lewan. He suffered a concussion on a crack back block in the opener vs. the Dolphins and did not practice all week. Right tackle Jack Conklin, still recovering from ACL surgery on his left knee in January, is out as well. His replacement, right tackle Dennis Kelly, was absent from practice Thursday and Friday due to illness.
There is some good news for the Titans on the defensive side of the ball, as Vrabel said he expects the team’s top two draft picks, linebackers Rashaan Evans (hamstring) and Harold Landry (ankle), to be able to play this week. Both suffered injuries before the season and missed last week’s season opener. Landry is officially listed as questionable.
Safety Kendrick Lewis has been ruled out for the second straight week with a foot injury.