NASHVILLE, Tenn. – It's a busy time for the Titans.
The team wrapped up the preseason on Thursday night, and on Friday began trimming the roster. All NFL teams must be down to a 53-man roster by Saturday.
The Titans also made a big trade, sending guard Andy Levitre to the Falcons.
Titans coach Ken Whisenhunt addressed all those topics and more in a press conference on Friday.
Six quick hits….
Is Mariota ready?**
Rookie quarterback Marcus Mariota posted a passer rating of 102.9 in four preseason games.
He completed 70 percent of his passes, and he threw his first touchdown of the preseason on Thursday night. He responded well when faced with adversity, and showed poise.
Next up: Tampa Bay. Is Mariota ready?
"I am not into predictions about him,'' Whisenhunt said. "I guess we'll find out how he'll play in the regular season. Marcus has done a nice job. He has worked very hard to improve, and I think he has done a nice job on the field.
"Is he ready for a regular season game? I guess that question will be answered in Tampa."
The Titans received a sixth-round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft and a conditional pick in a future year from the Falcons in exchange for Levitre.
Whisenhunt said the Titans "felt like it was an opportunity for both clubs and the player."
Levitre started 32 games for the Titans over the past two seasons.
"I really appreciate the time that Andy has put in here,'' Whisenhunt said. "I think one of the things I respect most about Andy is he is a good football player, but he is also good in the community and that is something I think is very important. I am happy for Andy because he gets an opportunity to play and potentially start in Atlanta. And it was something that was certainly good for us. We are ready to move on."
Five in place**
After trading Levitre to the Falcons, Whisenhunt indicated the team's starting five on the offensive line is now set.
From left to right, the group: Tackle Taylor Lewan, guard Byron Bell, center Brian Schwenke, guard Chace Warmack and tackle Jeremiah Poutasi.
Poutasi is the youngster of the group. The rookie is also set to make his first start against the Buccaneers.
"What I like about him is he is athletic, he has worked very hard, and he has gotten better over the three games he has played,'' Whisenhunt said of Poutasi. "We know that there's going to be times that he will struggle a little bit and we'll try and do some things to help him."
Whisenhunt praised rookie Andy Gallik for his emergence at guard.
The Titans waived nine players on Friday: FB Zach Boren, CB Ri'Shard Anderson, C Gabe Ikard, DB Khalid Wooten, DB Jemea Thomas, DL Isaako Aaitui, WR Josh Stewart, LB Andy Studebaker and LB Kaelin Burnett.
The current roster count is now 65 players. The Titans must be down to 53 by Saturday.
Among the toughest calls left: What to do at tight end? Chase Coffman and Phillip Supernaw both have impressive training camps.
The Titans take on the Vikings in Week 4 of the preseason at Nissan Stadium. (Donn Jones, AP)
"We have 12 cuts to make. They are going to be tough not respective of whether it's the tight ends or not,'' Whisenhunt said. "It's tough. Outside of losing a game this is the toughest thing about this job, going through that. And having to go through that with the nine players today was difficult.
"The tight end group specifically, it's going to be a tough position to decide...It's a tough position to find and certainly we feel very good about where it is right now, and it's all going to fit into the roster puzzle we are trying to work through right now."
Whisenhunt was asked what the identity is for the 2015 Titans?
It's a little too early to answer that question, the coach said.
Time will tell.
"I can't really sit here and tell you, because we don't know what it is going to be. We haven't even played a regular season game yet,'' Whisenhunt said. "If we could take anything out of preseason I would say our ability to create turnovers on defense and score off of those offensively. If we could carry that into the regular season it would do us great benefit.
"We are going to find out what that identity is as we play games, and that's really what's important...I do believe a large part of our identity is going to be established by our players and what we do."
Take on Blidi**
Cornerback Blidi Wreh-Wilson got his first action of the preseason against the Vikings, and Whisenhunt liked what he saw.
Wreh-Wilson missed the first three games with an ankle injury. He started 11 games last season for the Titans, and should be in the mix when the regular season begins.
"I thought he did well,'' Whisenhunt said of Wreh-Wilson. "He looked confident, he made plays on the ball, and it's certainly something that we needed at that position. It was good to see him play that way."
Wreh-Wilson forced a fumble on Thursday night that was recovered by safety Michael Griffin.