MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — Marcus Mariota found out at the coin toss he wouldn't be playing in the preseason finale here on Thursday night.
When the Titans quarterback did play during the preseason, he left nothing to chance.
It's why he feels so good about things heading into the regular season.
"Definitely,'' Mariota said on Thursday night. "We've had some ups and downs, but at the same time I feel we've had a lot more ups than we've had downs. It's good to build off of – having success, sustaining drives. I feel like we've built a solid resume up to this point going into the regular season."
Titans coach Mike Mularkey said Mariota and the veterans who were eventually held out – running back DeMarco Murray, tight Delanie Walker, receiver Andre Johnson and defensive lineman Jurrell Casey – prepared as if they were going to play against the Dolphins, and that was beneficial, he said.
"They were prepared to play all the way up until we were getting ready to kick it off,'' Mularkey said. "I wanted them to be mentally prepared for the game, and do everything they would normally do to play a game, all the way to being on the sideline for the coin toss, that was part of it."
In three preseason games, Mariota completed 23-of-31 passes for 319 yards, with one touchdown and one interception. His completion percentage is 74.2, and his passer rating is 104.1.
Mariota set franchise records for most touchdowns (19), completions (230), passing yards (2,818) and passing attempts (370) by a rookie in his first NFL season despite missing four games with knee injuries.
Things changed when the final second ticked off the clock here Thursday night.
"I am sure once we go into work tomorrow it is all full steam ahead into the regular season,'' Mariota said. "And that has to be our mentality. Enjoy this win, enjoy what we have done, but it really doesn't mean anything. This is our opportunity now to kind of take what we've learned in the offseason and build upon it for the regular season."
The Titans face the Vikings on September 11 at Nissan Stadium.
The Vikings will be without quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, who suffered a season-ending injury in practice earlier this week.
Mariota said he's kept Bridgewater in his prayers since learning the news.
"It is so unfortunate,'' Mariota said of Bridgewater. "All you can really do is pray for him and send him as much blessings as you can and let him know we are thinking of him. I hope he recovers fast and takes it one day at a time.
"But you never want to see that happen. Thoughts and prayers are with him."
The Titans close out the 2016 preseason against the Dolphins in Miami. (Photos: Donn Jones, AP)