Marcus Mariota Saved the Day on Sunday, but Titans Facing New Questions at QB Position

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Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota (8) acknowledges fans while leaving the field after an NFL football game against the Jacksonville Jaguars Sunday, Sept. 23, 2018, in Jacksonville, Fla. The Titans won 9-6. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Titans got a big boost from quarterback Marcus Mariota in Sunday's win over the Jaguars.

Now, heading into Sunday's game against the Philadelphia Eagles, the Titans are facing further questions at the position.

Among them:

  • Can Mariota do more this week as he looks to return to the starting lineup?
  • How is Blaine Gabbert, who suffered a concussion on Sunday and remains in the concussion protocol?
  • Do the Titans need to add another quarterback to the 53-man roster this week?

Vrabel said Gabbert is being evaluated, "and once I get the report from the doctors, and Blaine sees the doctors, we'll have a better idea on what his availability is going to be and what it might look like."

At that point, Vrabel said general manager Jon Robinson and himself would have to make a decision on where the Titans need to go with the back-up quarterback position.

Vrabel once again mentioned receiver Darius Jennings as the team's emergency quarterback. He said the Titans probably wouldn't be in a position to carry three quarterbacks on the roster heading into game day, but he didn't rule it out.

If another quarterback is needed, the Titans would consider all options, Vrabel said. Quarterback Logan Woodside, on the team's practice squad, is "in the conversation," Vrabel said.

"We'll continue to evaluate where we're at with that position, and seeing how (Mariota) can handle," Vrabel said. "Whether we look to bring in a veteran guy, or we look to move forward with Logan on the practice squad (is to be determined)."

Vrabel complimented Mariota again on Monday, and said "we can thank Marcus for that one" when discussing the win.

Vrabel gave Mariota a game ball for his performance in the team's 9-6 win over the Jaguars.

Mariota replaced an injured Gabbert in the first quarter of Sunday's game. Gabbert started the contest for the second week in a row in place of Mariota, sidelined since Week One and limited in practices because of an elbow injury.

Mariota, wearing a glove with two fingers exposed, completed 12-of-18 passes for 100 yards in the contest while also running for 51 yards on seven carries. His biggest run of the game came late, when he bolted for 15 yards and a first down in the closing minutes on a third down play.

Mariota said it was the first time he'd come off the bench in a game since he was in high school.

"It's what he can handle," Vrabel said of the plan for Mariota this week. "It's what he feels like he can handle physically with his recovery, and what the trainers feel like is best for him. We'll do what's best for Marcus as he continues to come back. But we'll give him everything he can handle and he'll tell us what he can handle and what he can't physically."

Mariota acknowledged earlier in the week – and again on Sunday -- he still felt some numbness and tingling in his fingers as a result of the injury. Mariota said the whole hand is affected by the injury "but the numbness and the (tingling) is a couple of fingers. The weakness is the whole hand, and that is what I am working on."

On Monday, Vrabel acknowledged Mariota still can't make all the throws.

But Vrabel said he hopes the package might be expanded this week in practices leading up to Sunday's game vs. the Eagles.

"There's just really certain throws that he can't make right now, so we'll work our way through that, whatever that may be, and when he improves we'll be able to do some more things with him, and he'll talk with Matt (LaFleur) and figure out the best game plan for us moving forward," Vrabel said.

"I think hopefully this week the whole package will try and come back. That remains to be seen, it's Monday. So hopefully we can get more than what it was last week."

Take a look at the best photos from Tennessee's 9-6 victory at Jacksonville on Sunday, Sept. 23, 2018 at TIAA Bank Field. (Photos: Donn Jones, AP)

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