NASHVILLE – Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota has enjoyed his time away, back home in Hawaii.
Now, he's itching to get back to Nashville.
"The excitement, it always comes around, but I can really feel it this year," Mariota said in a one-on-one interview with Amie Wells of Titans Online last week. "It's fun because we have a good core group of guys that have been there since my rookie year, and we have consistently gotten better. Putting three winning seasons together is an awesome foundation. Now let's take the next step, and I think we're ready to do that."
Wells and members of the Titans Online video and production crew traveled to Hawaii to spend time with Mariota during his Motiv8 Foundation golf tournament and fundraiser in Honolulu.
Mariota said the offseason "has been a little different for me" since he's opted to spend most of it back home following a 2018 season that saw him deal with injuries, and the frustration that followed.
Mariota started 13 of the team's 16 games in 2018, and he played in 14 of 16. He finished the year with 2,528 passing yards with 11 touchdowns and eight interceptions. He set the franchise record with a completion percentage of 68.9.
Mariota said he's healing up from his injuries from 2018.
"I am getting close to feeling a whole lot better," Mariota said. "It has taken a little while. That is what was kind of weird for me. This offseason it wasn't necessarily, 'Hey, you can do more reps and you'll feel better.' It was like, 'Hey, you shouldn't do anything and you'll feel better.' So it was kind of a different aspect for me. I've always felt like more is better, but this time, whether it was the doctors, whether it was the rehab people here or (the Titans trainers) … it was more, 'Hey, let's just take some time off and get your body right.
"So I am feeling a lot better. I am looking forward to being back in Nashville and continuing that process."
In the interview, Mariota discussed the team's receivers, and new offensive coordinator Arthur Smith, among other topcis.
Mariota, who is heading into the final year of his contract, will report for the team's offseason program on April 15.
He's excited about what's in store in 2019.
"I think we have an opportunity to make the next step," Mariota said. "I am excited to get healthy. I am excited to get back out there with the guys. We have a solid foundation, and for us right now, I think we are always getting better. I think coach (Mike) Vrabel has a vision for us, and as we continue to push toward that vision I think we'll end up where we want to be."
Titans Online looks back at QB Marcus Mariota's 2018 season. (AP Photos)