NASHVILLE, Tenn. —Titans coach Ken Whisenhunt addressed reporters today to discuss the team's 20-6 loss to the Texans, and also look ahead to this Sunday's game against the Saints.
Here's a look at six big topics from the presser:
I wrote a separate story about Marcus Mariota that's posted on the web site, but news surrounding the rookie quarterback is too important to ignore here.
Whisenhunt said he expects Mariota to practice fully on Wednesday, and the expectation is he'll return to action against the Saints after missing the previous two games with an injured knee.
"I expect him to go Wednesday in practice,'' Whisenhunt said of Mariota. "Obviously we'll see what he can do in practice, but I don't think there's going to be an issue there. He is better this week."
Whisenhunt said Mariota should provide a spark upon his return.
"Any time you get your starter back it is always an emotional spark, I think,'' Whisenhunt said.
Wright's injury, and status of others**
Receiver Kendall Wright suffered a knee injury against the Texans, and in the locker room on Monday he said it felt "horrible."
Earlier, ESPN reported Wright suffered an MCL sprain. When asked about the report of the MCL sprain, Wright said that sounded "about right," but acknowledged he was awaiting results from an MRI.
Whisenhunt didn't give specifics on the injury, or how long Wright might be out.
"We are still evaluating it; I know it is sore today,'' Whisenhunt said of Wright. "But I don't know as far as time, or if he'll miss (games), or anything. We are still in the process of looking at it."
The Titans plan to get receiver Harry Douglas (ribs) and cornerback Perrish Cox (hamstring) back in practice this week, and are hopeful they'll be back against the Saints, Whisenhunt said.
The Titans pulled rookie right tackle Jeremiah Poutasi on Sunday because of his struggles against the Texans, and there's no guarantee he'll get his job back.
Jamon Meredith replaced Poutasi at right tackle for the second time in three games. Whisenhunt said he's considering making a change at the position.
"That's something we are looking at, certainly,'' Whisenhunt said. "I think you have to consider that…You have to look within and see what options we have and talk about it."
Whisenhunt acknowledged he has some concerns about Poutasi's confidence level.
"Absolutely,'' Whisenhunt said. "He is a young football player. Those are things that are tough."
Whisenhunt said Andy Gallik, who sat out Sunday's game after suffering a concussion the previous week, will be back in the starting lineup this week. Joe Looney started at center against the Texans.
Back-up quarterback Zach Mettenberger was sacked seven times against the Texans, and hit 14 times.
Whisenhunt said Mettenberger came out of the game healthy, but said the team must do a better job of protecting him. He also noted there were times when Mettenberger could have gotten the ball out of his hands to avoid being sacked.
"Were there a couple of times when you just have to throw it away?'' Whisenhunt said of Mettenberger. "Yeah, those were the things in a couple of situations we could have done better."
Whisenhunt said the Titans lost one-on-one matchups on the offensive line, and he said there was miscommunication up front that led to trouble.
Left tackle Taylor Lewan was among those who had a "bad day," Whisenhunt said.
"He didn't have as good a day technique-wise, but that happens in this game,'' Whisenhunt added. "Let's not forget Taylor…is not a four-year veteran or a three-year veteran. So there's always going to be some things as a young player that you have to go through."
Sankey loses return job
Bishop Sankey has disappeared in the running game over the past month.
He's now out of the mix in the return game as well.
After fumbling a kickoff against the Texans, and muffing another, Sankey has lost his job on special teams, Whisenhunt said. Sankey had issues earlier this season in a game against the Bills as well.
"The first time it was an anomaly," Whisenhunt said. "The second time that it happened, it's something that you just, it's not good."
Running back Dexter McCluster will handle punt and kick return duties.
Running back David Cobb has been practicing with the team, and the Titans could remove him from the injured reserve/designated to return list as early as this week.
Cobb has been sidelined since before the regular season as he dealt with a calf injury.
Whisenhunt wouldn't commit to making that move this week, however. The Titans could wait until next week before making a decision.
Whether or not Cobb would immediately be in the mix for carries, well, that depends on his conditioning.
"It depends on what his weight is, and what kind of shape he is in,'' Whisenhunt said of Cobb. "He was a little heavy last week at weigh-in, and that was something I wasn't too happy about. That is all part of the evaluation of him."
Whisenhunt said he needs to consult with the team's trainer.
"He made progress last week,'' Whisenhunt said of Cobb. "The one thing you have to be careful about doing is thinking he is full-go, and then he has a setback. We'll integrate him as much as we can to find out.
"There's no guarantee he'll be back. I think we have a week from today to make the final decision."