Six Hot Topics from Mike Mularkey's Press Conference

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. —Titans coach Mike Mularkey met with reporters on Monday at Saint Thomas Sports Park, two days after the team's 38-17 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Here's a look at six hot topics:

**

Mariota Surgery**

I mentioned this in a separate post as well, but it's too big not to mention here as well.

Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota is scheduled to have surgery on Wednesday to repair the fractured right fibula he suffered in Saturday's loss to the Jaguars.

Mariota will need 4-5 months to recover following the procedure, which will be performed in Charlotte, N.C., by Dr. Robert Anderson. A plate will be inserted where the fracture is located, according to Titans coach Mike Mularkey.

Based on the timetable, Mularkey said he thinks Mariota could be back for some of the organized team activities in May or June. Mariota should be ready for the start of training camp in July.

"I have total respect (for him),'' Mularkey said of Mariota. "I love the player, love the man. I love everything he stands for, everything he does. I am very disappointed he got injured. He had a lot of good things ahead of him and he still does. But I am sorry to see it end his season this way, very sorry."

**

Cassel to Start**

Veteran Matt Cassel will start Sunday's game against the Texans.

Cassel came off the bench on Saturday to replace Mariota.

Alex Tanney will be promoted from the practice squad to the 53-man roster to back up Cassel against the Texans.

Cassel completed 13-of-24 passes for 124 yards with one touchdown and one interception against the Jaguars.

Mularkey said the Titans will make a slight changes in the offense, a "few wrinkles," but nothing drastic.

**

"Tough lesson learned"**

Two days later, Mularkey was still sick about Saturday's loss to the Jaguars.

"It is a very tough lesson learned,'' Mularkey said, "for everybody in here."

"It is an unfortunate time when it happened. I give credit to (the Jaguars) for coming out and playing at the level they played. When we don't play well and they played as well as they do, it is not going to be a pretty game."

Mularkey did his best to take the blame.

"I am responsible for everything that goes on with our football team,'' Mularkey said. "I'll never deny that. … Here I am. It starts up here, and it was frustrating for me. Based on the room this morning, everyone is frustrated and disappointed knowing what we let go. Lesson learned. Tough lesson learned."

**

Finishing 9-7**

Next up for the Titans is the season finale against the Houston Texans, who clinched the AFC South.

Mularkey said it's a meaningful game for the Titans, who have a chance to finish 9-7.

A year ago, the Titans finished 3-13.

"I think it's very important,'' Mularkey said. "I think this game was going to be a big game regardless. We are sitting here where we are, in many respects, for not being able to win the games we need to win our division. This is another game in our division.

"We need to win. We haven't beaten these guys since I have been here. The record, it's the last game of the year for our team. We'd like (to end) with a good feel about ourselves. We've had a relatively successful season -- it is not

successful unless you're in the race, and winning the Super Bowl. There is only one team it is successful (for). But there's a lot of things that are important in this football game for this football team. The No.1 thing is winning this game."

Klug Surgery

Defensive lineman Karl Klug will also have Achilles surgery on Wednesday in Charlotte as well, Mularkey said. Anderson will perform the procedure.

Klug was placed on Injured Reserve last week after being injured against the Chiefs.

Other injuries

Cornerback LeShaun Sims is in the concussion protocol after Saturday's contest.

Linebacker Sean Spence has a sore ankle after playing against the Jaguars. He was on the injury report leading up the game

Defensive lineman Mehdi Abdesmad suffered a high ankle sprain.

TitansOnline.com looks back at Marcus Mariota's second NFL season in 2016. (AP Photos)

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