NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Marcus Mariota is on the upswing. The Titans quarterback has been taking part in organized team activities, but on a limited basis as he works his way back from last year's injury.
Matt Cassel, well, he's in the early stages on his road to recovery. After suffering a thumb injury last week, he had surgery and will now watch the rest of the OTAs, and next week's minicamp.
Enter Alex Tanney.
In reality, Tanney has been here all along, longer than both Mariota and Cassel. But for the rest of the team's offseason practices, he'll get extended work, and valuable experience.
His mission: Limit his mistakes, and improve with the team each day.
"These past couple of years you're not getting a lot of reps," said Tanney, who initially joined the Titans at the end of the 2014 season (practice squad). "But you're getting mental reps and you're watching stuff on film, so that definitely helps because I am more familiar with the system now and I am able to go out there and show the things I have learned the last few years.
"The biggest thing for me is not being able to get as many of these reps, it's a chance to just try to eliminate all mental errors, and try not to make any mistakes and if you do you go back and try and correct those. For me it's being able to get through an entire progression, understand the entire concept and what coaches want us to do with that play and if we have to change something then make sure we are executing."
The Titans kick off another round of OTA this week, before next week's minicamp.
Mariota has been taking part in walk-through periods, individual periods and 7-on-7 periods, but he's been held out of team periods as he continues to recover from last year's fractured fibula, which required surgery. With Cassel's injury, Tanney will get more work moving forward, and the Titans also have quarterback Tyler Ferguson, an undrafted free agent out of Western Kentucky.
Coaches have liked what they've seen from Tanney, and Ferguson.
"They are getting some experience,'' Titans coach Mike Mularkey said, "and they are getting a lot of time."
Tanney, who spent the 2015 and 2016 seasons on the team's practice squad and active roster, said he's looking forward to the extra work while wishing a speedy recovery for Mariota and Cassel. Tanney played in the 2015 regular season finale against the Colts, and completed 10-of-14 passes for 99 yards and a touchdown. He's also spent time with the Chiefs, Cowboys, Browns and Buccaneers.
"I feel like we're doing a good job of our group communicating with those guys, how we see things, how we expect things to be done," Tanney said. "We have a really good group of young guys. You can tell they are prepared and they want to get better.
"All three of them, they are very explosive. Taywan has made some really explosive plays for us in space, and he can really run. I haven't seen as much of Corey (who has been limited) but when he has been in there you can tell he knows what he is doing. He's a big physical guy who can go up and get it. And Jonnu is still learning, but he can get going when he wants to, so three guys who are going to contribute on Sundays."