NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Zach Mettenberger met with reporters for the first time as the team's starting quarterback on Thursday and explained his excitement going into Sunday's game against the Houston Texans.
"This is what you dream of," he began. "As a kid you want to play college football and play in the pros. Now that opportunity has come for me and it's about taking advantage of it and stringing some wins together for us."
The "Mett Show," as his twitter handle reads, saw some rehearsal action during the preseason and in mop up duty against the Colts in week 4. Mettenberger led the NFL with 659 passing yards during the preseason with two touchdowns, two interceptions and two game-winning drives.
"Any live snaps you get, especially at that time coming off the knee injury, was important for me," said Mettenberger, who still wears a brace on his left knee following a season-ending injury late during his senior year at LSU. "Now these count. No one remembers what our record in the preseason was. Now it's about making the most of every rep and taking it one play at a time. It's about winning games in this league."
His first taste of regular season action during Tennessee's Week 4 game in Indianapolis yielded just 17 yards and his first career interception. The nerves during his NFL debut – albeit a brief one – are now gone with the time to prepare as a starter.
"I was nervous for the Colts game but now that I'm getting ready for it I'm ready to go," he explained. "It was my first NFL game, so when you're more prepared you tend to be less nervous."
Mettenberger and the coaching staff don't expect the rookie to be a world beater on Sunday, but know if he stays within himself then he'll have a good shot at being successful.
"By no means am I a Tom Brady or Peyton Manning," said Mettenberger. "This is going to be my first game. I've got to get the ball out of my hands quick, avoid turnovers and put the ball in the hands of the guys who can make plays for us. Really, that's the biggest thing young guys have to do too much and that's no different for me."
The former LSU Tiger said he spoke with someone earlier in the week week – presumably a fellow NFL quarterback – to get advice as to what he should expect from his first NFL start.
"I talked to someone in this business who is very good at what he does," Mettenberger said. "He said, 'don't get it twisted - you're going to make mistakes in this league - but don't get discouraged about it. Keep slinging it and keep playing it and don't lose confidence.' That's kind of the mindset I'm going with."
Titans Online looks at the rookie season to date of rookie QB Zach Mettenberger, the team's sixth-round pick out of LSU in 2014. (Photos: Donn Jones, AP)
In the ultimate team game, the unquestioned leader of an offense is the man under center. Now that Mettenberger is that guy for the Titans, the rookie label becomes irrelevant and it becomes his team.
"No matter who that guy is at the quarterback position it's his team," Mettenberger said. "I have got to step in and take control. I feel like I've done that this week being vocal and making sure we get the right calls and being on the same page. I definitely feel like this is my team now."
With all the talk swirling around about if Mettenberger has what it takes to be the franchise quarterback of the future, he told reporters his focus is on the task at hand.
"I'm looking to beat the Houston Texans this week," he said simply. "That's all I can worry about. I can't think about the possibilities of the future."