Marcus Mariota: "I will be ready to go with everything."


SMITHVILLE, Tenn. – Marcus Mariota is ready for his third NFL season.

And after being limited in offseason work, the Titans quarterback said he's prepared to be turned loose.

"I feel great," Mariota said on Tuesday. "With camp starting on Friday I think my body is in good shape, and I can't wait to get it going.

"I will be ready to go with everything. I will be full-go in practice, and I will be able to do everything with the guys. And I am excited about that because I wasn't able to do it in OTAs. It should be a lot of fun."

Mariota made his comments here this morning at DeKalb County High School, one of four visits he was scheduled to make through a partnership with Saint Thomas Health. Mariota visited White County High earlier today, and he was scheduled to make stops at Warren County High and Cannon County High later today.

The DeKalb County football team joined a big crowd from the community on hand for a Q & A with Mariota, when he discussed his path to success, his foundation, and his partnership with Saint Thomas Health.

Afterward, he talked football.

The Titans report for training camp on Friday, and are scheduled to practice for the first time on Saturday.

"I am excited," Mariota said. "It is hard to put into words. I think we have a great core group of guys that really just wants to win, and it's fun to be a part of. We are excited to get things going. We start Friday and hopefully we are not done until February."

Mariota, who was limited during the offseason as he recovered from last year's fractured fibula, said he's been working out mainly in Hawaii and Oregon in recent weeks. He threw routes to some of the team's receivers roughly 1 ½ weeks ago.

Mariota said he's excited about the team's receivers, a group that includes Rishard Matthews, last year's leader in receiving yards, and a pair of early draft picks in Corey Davis and Taywan Taylor. The team signed former Jets and Broncos receiver Eric Decker in June. Tajae Sharpe, Harry Douglas and Tre McBride also return.

"I think the group is great," Mariota said. "I think adding Eric is going to help with the veteran presence. ... He's a guy who has done it in the league for a really long time. With the young guys that we have in Corey and Taywan, and even Tajae and Rishard, to have (another) guy they can look up to, I am excited and I think they are too."

Mariota threw to Decker during the recent workout at an undisclosed location, and said he looked good.

"His route-running was great," Mariota said of Decker. "He's a big target and he caught the ball well. He's going to add to this group and I think the group overall is a great group."

Physically, Mariota said he feels good. He plans to play around 218 pounds this fall. He reported to camp at 224 pounds last season, and was listed at 222 pounds on the team's roster.

"Once the season was done it was a combination of the Titans staff and myself (deciding on the weight), and we wanted to focus on what playing weight would help me be the best at," Mariota said. "And I think right around 215-218 is what I played at in college and I was able to run around and do some things. So that was the focus. If it doesn't happen, if it doesn't work out, I can always gain weight. But 218 is probably the best weight to play at and I'll probably try and stick around there throughout the season."

Before boarding a bus and heading to another stop Tuesday, Mariota heard cheers from those on hand.

Expectations are higher for these Titans coming off a 9-7 season, and Mariota knows it.

But the mindset remains the same, he said.

"Our focus and our mentality doesn't change,'' Mariota said. "Coach (Mike) Mularkey from the beginning has kind of laid the foundation for us, and the core group of guys that are here really believe in that. We are building off of what we did in the offseason. Everyone is going to have their expectations -- our main focus is to be the best players we can be for each other and getting ready for the season.

"What we can control is when we get out there (in camp), we go out there and do our thing and focus on the team. There's a lot of high expectations, but really we just have to focus on our goal as a team and make sure we don't allow the outside noise to impact us."

Titans Online looks back at Marcus Mariota's 2017 offseason. (Photos: AP, Gary Glenn, Donn Jones, Al Wagner)

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