NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Titans are back after the bye weekend.
Coach Ken Whisenhunt addressed reporters on Monday at Saint Thomas Sports Park.
A look at the five biggest topics:
Titans cornerback Jason McCourty missed the first three games of the season with a groin injury, and defensive lineman Sammie Hill has also been sidelined with a knee injury.
Guard Chance Warmack (knee) and cornerback Cody Riggs (knee) are also recovering from injuries.
But Whisenhunt said "I think we're in pretty good shape,'' coming off the bye.
"Things can change between now and Wednesday, but I expect to have everybody at practice in some capacity on Wednesday,'' he said. "One of the benefits of having the bye week early, I guess. So we're excited to see that."
McCourty is expected to be back in the starting lineup against the Bills, which should provide a lift to the secondary.
"Our guys battled, there were some good things (without McCourty),'' Whisenhunt said. "Obviously, the deep balls were one of the things that, regardless of who's in there, we've got to stop. Especially those third-and-20s were a difficult pill to swallow, but it always helps to get a good football player back. It makes us deeper at the positon. You feel like with Coty (Sensabaugh) and Blidi (Wreh-Wilson) getting a chance to get a lot of play time, it helps them. Certainly Perrish (Cox), we feel good about him, so getting J-Mac (Jason McCourty) in there, it makes the group stronger and that's a good thing."
In three games, Mariota has thrown eight touchdowns vs. only two interceptions. He's fifth in the NFL in passer rating (109.2).
So has the hot start lifted the rookie's confidence? Whisenhunt's not sure the Heisman Trophy winner ever really doubted himself.
"I really believe that Marcus (Mariota) felt like he could do it,'' Whisenhunt said. "He's been successful his whole life and this was the next step for him. But look, it's not just by chance. Marcus works very hard. He's very detailed, and he's a good player. So it's good for our team. When we started this whole process of evaluating quarterbacks and knowing that was something that was important for us, we certainly feel good about the decision to take Marcus and even the little sample that he's shown."
In the mix
The Titans are 1-2 at this point, trailing the Colts (2-2) in the AFC South.
The division is wide open, as the Texans and Jaguars are both 1-3.
"It's still early,'' Whisenhunt said. "I'm sure that you're aware of where it is. But it's still early. There are a lot of games left to play. After playing Indy and feeling like it was a game that we should have won, we certainly feel like we can compete. If we take care of our business, that will work itself out. We feel like we're a team where if we can eliminate a few of our mistakes and a few of our things that we really haven't done well, that we're really close to being a good football team."
Facing the Bills**
The Bills are 2-2, and they're coming off a 24-10 loss to the Giants.
Buffalo blew out the Colts in Week One, and also handled the Dolphins on the road.
"Well, they're a talented football team,'' Whisenhunt said. "They present a lot of different looks on both sides of the ball, and they have talented football players. You have to be disciplined with this team as far as how to handle some of the things they throw at you, communicate well. Obviously, on defense we're going to have to tackle and make sure we try to contain the quarterback."
A tweet from Titans linebacker Zach Brown last week got the attention of some fans.
Two days after the team's 35-33 loss to the Colts, Brown sent this message via Twitter: "Ready to move on … @Akeem Ayers bro hit me."
Ayers, a former Titans linebacker, was traded to the Patriots last offseason. He now plays for the Rams. Ayers and Brown were teammates in Tennessee.
On Monday, Whisenhunt downplayed the social media stir it created last week.
"I was made aware of (the tweet), but you know, it was an emotional game last week. It was one that we felt we should have won, and we all do things after those games that certainly we may regret or say,'' Whisenhunt said. "I spoke with Zach (Brown) just like I speak with a lot of the players after the game and talk about things we have to do better, but you know, I don't see it as an issue."
Titans Online looks back at the all-time series against the Buffalo Bills. (Photos: Donn Jones, AP)