NASHVILLE, Tenn. >> Tennessee quarterback Marcus Mariota’s inaugural NFL season has ended two games early. Titans interim head coach Mike Mularkey said Wednesday it’s “not worth the risk” of playing Mariota in the season finale Sunday at Indianapolis.
So Mariota’s rookie campaign is done.
He missed two games earlier this season with a sprained MCL in his left knee, and now he’ll finish the year sitting out the final two games because of a sprained right knee. Mariota tested his knee Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.
But Mularkey said Mariota is not as far along as they thought he might be. So the Titans (3-12) have decided to play it safe and bench him for the final game.
“It’s doing it the right way and being smart about it,” Mularkey said of the decision. “We were hoping. We knew it was slim. He’s a pretty quick healer, but not the case for this one.”
Mularkey said his quarterback didn’t take the news well. Mariota, who had expressed a desire last week to play in the finale, did not speak with reporters Wednesday.
“He’d play if he could,” Mularkey said of Mariota.
Declaring Mariota out against the Colts (7-8) protects last year’s No. 2 draft pick overall out of Oregon for the future, and for the coach the Titans decide to hire for the quarterback’s second season.
With Mariota out, the Titans will get the No. 1 overall draft pick in 2016 if they finish the season with their fourth straight loss.
Mariota finishes his rookie season with a 3-9 record having missed a quarter of this season. He threw for 2,818 yards with 19 touchdowns and 10 interceptions despite being sacked 38 times. He completed 62.2 percent of his passes and posted a 91.5 passer rating.
Mularkey said Mariota might’ve played even better if not for the initial knee injury Oct. 18 in a 38-10 loss to Miami.
“He was slowed with the injury,” Mularkey said. “But I think as far as his progress, I thought he made great strides. Learned a lot, went through a lot, saw a lot. A lot of these teams are playoff-caliber teams here at the end. The defenses we faced, the fronts, the blitzes, the things we saw, he saw, will benefit him for this next year easily.”
Zach Mettenberger will start his second straight game and fourth this season. He is 0-9 as a starter, yet Mettenberger remaining winless as a starter would help the Titans clinch the top overall draft pick for the first time since 1973 when the then-Houston Oilers drafted defensive end John Matuszak.
Mettenberger just wants his first career victory.
“That’s my sole focus every week is to get the win,” Mettenberger said, “and hopefully we play good enough football this week to get that.”
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Always save as much money as possible. You never can tell when you will fall ill, or get into an accident. Then your career maybe over.
Good decision. Rest up during the offseason, and rehab those knees. Come back bigger, stronger, and better next season. Started this season good, but… Good Luck, Marcus.
Great post, bigger and stronger. You will be a great NFL qb Marcus
Nice thinking. Marcus is following Jake Locker’s lead. Titans need a better O-line.
agree..he has had a decent rookie year
allie, Not with a 3-12 record. It won’t get any better is Chip Kelly is the coach next year.
If the Titans don’t draft and/or trade for more offensive line help, Marcus will have a very short career.
Good decision. Don’t want another RG-III fiasco. Get him some OL help.
Two-time Offensive Player of the Week, not bad for a rookie!
No future at Tennessee with the mediocre players there. Best hope for Marcus is to be traded upwards. A lot of the good teams now have aging, over the hill, quarterbacks.
why would they trade their future?
If a trade is attractive enough to benefit both teams, they will. The Titans need to fill several slots while the other team may only need to replace a quarterback. A future star is only as good as his support.
The right thing to do, no sense playing the last game and injuring himself more. As the Titans will more than likely get the first draft choice, they need to improve their offensive line especially at left tackle so Mariota won’t get blindsized like he did so often this season. Titans are actually lacking in most positions except quarterback, tightend (Delanie Walker), and wide receiver (Dorial Green-Beckham) who has a lot of upside. Hopefully Chip Kelly will be hired as the new Titans coach as he was Mariota’s coach in college.
Chip Kelly is over rated. People need to pay less for qbs and use some of that money for offensive line men.
You can rehab you legs and extremities all you want and it won’t make a difference if your offensive line can’t protect you. There needs to be a major Titans overhaul for Marcus to reach his potential.
I can understand why Mariota wants to play. He not only wants his team to win, but he also wants to make sure he doesn’t lose his starting slot should the backup QB shine.
Good to rest up. Come home with a stop at Zippy’s. Get ready for 2016.
Zippy’s? Yuk, with that $$, Alan Wong or Moritomo’$.