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Regardless of Coach, Mariota will be Prepared for 2016


NASHVILLE, Tenn. —The 2015 season complete, Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota cleaned out of his locker on Monday, and began thinking about what the next few months will be like without football.

"You take it one day at a time,'' Mariota said. "I don't even know what I am going to do for lunch."

Right now, Mariota's not sure who the team's head coach will be in 2016 either.

The Titans on Monday announced the team will begin to interview candidates for the job this week. Mike Mularkey, who replaced Ken Whisenhunt as interim head coach seven games into the season, is in the mix.

"Whatever they decide to do, I will full-heartedly support it and get ready for next season,'' Mariota said. "It would help to have the same system in place, but whatever they decide to do, I will be prepared and ready for it."

Mariota also publicly thanked Ruston Webster because "he went to bat for me" leading up to the NFL Draft. The Titans selected Mariota with the second overall pick in the draft, and he broke numerous rookie records in 2015 despite playing just 12 games. Webster, the team's general manager the last four seasons, was informed on Monday his contract wouldn't be renewed.

The Titans have started the process of identifying candidates for each position. Titans president Steve Underwood said on Monday the team has a player to build around in Mariota.

"We need to find people to surround him with that will help him mature as an NFL quarterback and lead our franchise to the next success,'' Underwood said.

Mariota said what happens with the head coaching job is "out of your control" and "we'll see what happens." Mariota played under two head coaches as a rookie in Whisenhunt and Mularkey.

Underwood said Mariota could be involved in the process as the team narrows its head coaching finalists, however.

"I think it would be a good idea for him to know who we have, sort of, narrowed the search to when we get to that point, yes,'' Underwood said. "Like with anything else, I think we would at least like for him to know and have his view of those people.  I think that would be important.

"It doesn't necessarily mean that we'd be guided by one person's opinion, just as more than one person helped assemble our list. But I think that having his general view of someone, yes, I think that would be important."


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