Hot Topics from Saturday's Press Conference

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. —The Titans have one more preseason game – on Thursday vs. the Vikings at Nissan Stadium – before turning their full attention to the start of the regular season.

On Saturday, a day after the team's 34-10 loss to the Chiefs, Titans coach Ken Whisenhunt addressed reporters during an afternoon presser.

Six quick hits:

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Mariota plan**

Whisenhunt wouldn't commit to playing quarterback Marcus Mariota in the preseason finale against the Vikings.

In three games, Mariota has completed 19-of-27 passes for 252 yards.

"I don't know,'' Whisenhunt said. "I don't think I have to answer that question today. We are considering a lot of things for this game, and we are considering both options for Marcus.

"I don't know if I want to get into the pros and cons of it. I think it is just an individual preference for what you want to get done.  He's had a good preseason and he's made a lot of progress and we feel good about where he is going. You could look at it as another opportunity to get him a little more work, or you could look at it as an opportunity to not expose him to something that could keep him out of the first game. If you said pros and cons -- that would be (it) in a nutshell."

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The Titans take on the Chiefs in Week 3 of the preseason in Kansas City. (Donn Jones, AP)

O-line in place?**

The Titans started the same five offensive linemen against the Chiefs as the previous week against the Rams, and Whisenhunt sounded relatively pleased.

Jeremiah Poutasi worked at right tackle while Byron Bell lined up at left guard in a five-some that also included left tackle Taylor Lewan, center Brian Schwenke and right guard Chance Warmack.

"I would say it's fair to say they've made a case for themselves,'' Whisenhunt said. "I still think we have some time to work through some things. But they have done some good things and made a case to be the five guys. … They continued to progress."

Guard Andy Levitre, a starter the past two seasons at left guard, worked with the second-team offensive line against the Chiefs.

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Hunter setback**

Earlier this month, Whisenhunt raved about receiver Justin Hunter. He said he was "trending up" after a solid stretch of practices.

Hunter didn't catch one of the four passes thrown his way on Friday night, however, and he has just two catches for 14 yards in three preseason games.

"Last night was a little bit of a step back for him,'" Whisenhunt said of Hunter. "Hopefully he'll get a chance to redeem himself this week, and see what he can do. I thought the arrow was moving up on Justin as far as progress he was making in camp, and he has been working hard.

"But that happens sometimes. You can't have every game be perfect. The beauty of this game is he'll get a chance to respond Thursday night and we'll see how he handles is."   

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Defensive woes**

The Titans fell behind 17-0 early last night in an eventual 34-10 loss to the Chiefs, and tackling was an issue.

Whisenhunt said the Chiefs had 96 yards after contact on Friday night.

"That is too big of a number,'' he said. "We took some bad angles and we didn't do things that we needed to do, and that is something I am confident we'll work on and get cleaned up."

Whisenhunt said he thought his defense played like a "tired team" on a short work. But he said the game provided a nice teaching tool.

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Sankey status**

Running back Bishop Sankey had six carries for 17 yards against the Chiefs, a week after posting an impressive performance against the Rams. Sankey fumbled against the Chiefs, something Whisenhunt didn't like.

"Other than that, he did OK," Whisenhunt said of Sankey. "That is a tough front to run against, especially when you don't have an opportunity to plan against them like you normally would. … It was OK."

With David Cobb sidelined with a calf injury, other backs will have more opportunities.

Whisenhunt offered praise for running backs Antonio Andrews and Dexter McCluster, who led the team with 37 yards on eight carries on Friday.

"I am excited because I have seen a lot of positive things out of Antonio and out of Dexter,'' Whisenhunt said. "It was good to see Dexter contribute and run the ball last night the way he did. He was effective and he did a nice job in protection. And Antonio has done a nice job as well."

Whisenhunt also offered some praise for running back David Fluellen, but noted the team plans to keep an eye out for other backs who could become available.

Injuries

Safety Da'Norris Searcy (knee) and receiver Hakeem Nicks (knee) left Friday's game early, but the injuries aren't serious. They're expected to practice this week and could play against the Vikings, Whisenhunt said.

Cornerback Blidi Wreh-Wilson (ankle) could return to the practice field this week, and the hope is he'll be able to play in the preseason finale.

Linebackers J.R. Tavai could return to practice on Monday, Whisenhunt said. Linebackers Yannik Cudjoe-Virgil and Zaviar Gooden still aren't ready, Whisenhunt said.

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