Titans Hope to Have Mariota Back Sunday vs. Saints

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. —The Titans expect quarterback Marcus Mariota to practice fully on Wednesday, and the hope is he'll return to action on Sunday against the Saints, head coach Ken Whisenhunt said during his Monday press conference.

Mariota has missed the past two games after suffering a sprained medial collateral ligament in his left knee against the Dolphins on October 18. He was a limited participant in practices last week, leading up to Sunday's game against the Texans, when Zach Mettenberger started in his place.

"Sure, it will help,'' Whisenhunt said of getting Mariota back. "He brings a different element to the position, and that can help...Any time you get your starter back, that is always an emotional spark, I think."

Mariota was injured early in the second quarter of the team's 38-10 loss to the Dolphins when Miami defensive end Olivier Vernon dove and hit Mariota on the back of his left leg after he released the football.

Mettenberger has started the last two contests for the Titans. In Sunday's 20-6 loss to the Texans, Mettenberger was sacked seven times, and hit a whopping 14 times in the contest. Mettenberger completed 22-of-31 passes in the game, with no touchdowns and an interception.

Whisenhunt said in his press conference on Monday the team needs to do a better job protecting the quarterback.

"We'll look to do a better job with that,'' Whisenhunt said. "Marcus does a good job in there of understanding, you can do some different things, move the pocket, move him around and help compensate for that."

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