NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Zach Mettenberger thinks he is the answer to the Tennessee Titans' quarterback problem, not Marcus Mariota or Jameis Winston.
The Titans have four months to decide if they agree before going on the clock with the second overall pick in the 2015 draft.
"It's an important decision for us, for the organization going forward, and I think that that's one that we have time to make that decision," coach Ken Whisenhunt said. "We're going to go through that process and look at it. I'm sure in time we'll come to the right one."
The Titans tried one last time to see if Jake Locker might be their quarterback. He didn't get the chance to return after his second injury in five games before the Titans turned to Mettenberger, a sixth-round draft pick out of LSU.
Mettenberger became the third quarterback in franchise history to start six or more games as a rookie, joining Dan Pastorini (eight in 1971) and Vince Young (13 in 2006) before hurting his right throwing shoulder. He became the first of the trio to complete a touchdown pass in each of his first five starts.
The rookie quarterback played in seven games, starting six, and was 107 of 179 for 1,412 yards, averaging 7.89 yards per attempt. He was sacked 18 times and posted a passer rating of 83.4 with eight touchdowns and seven interceptions.
"I didn't really get a full body of work together to kind of showcase what I could do, but I did a lot of good things this year and hopefully I'll have the opportunity to do that again next year," Mettenberger said. "I think I showed them enough on the field to believe in me and give me another opportunity, but we'll see. It's going to be a long offseason, but all I can do is control what I can control and continue to work."
Mettenberger set a single-game rookie record for the franchise with 345 passing yards at Philadelphia on Nov. 23. His 299 yards against Houston on Oct. 26 — his first career start — rank third in team annals among rookies. And against Pittsburgh on Nov. 17, he passed for 263 yards, a record for a rookie on Monday Night Football.
"I think a lot of people didn't really believe that a sixth-round pick could be a starter for an organization his rookie year, but I did a good job of putting the hard work in and showing the coaches enough for them to start me," he said.
Mettenberger said he will be sticking around Nashville for the offseason working to improve and get stronger a year after spending his time rehabilitating a torn ACL. He even has plans to do side work with receivers Kendall Wright and Justin Hunter.
"We've already made plans to get together so we don't show up rusty on day one," said Mettenberger, who along with top pick Taylor Lewan want to be building blocks on a franchise looking to turn things around 2015. "We're taking it personal to get after it this offseason and show up day one ready to roll...I'm going to try to be seen as much as possible in the building so they don't forget about me."
The Associated Press conributed to this report