Titans QB Marcus Mariota Still Being Evaluated by Medical Staff


NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota is still being evaluated by the team's medical staff, but coach Mike Vrabel sounded optimistic about his condition on Monday.

Mariota didn't finish Sunday's season opener against the Dolphins after being injured in the third quarter.

"We are hopeful that we'll get a good report back on his arm, so we can move forward with having him as our quarterback," Vrabel said. "It is important that we have everybody that is healthy and available for these games."

The Titans face the Texans on Sunday at Nissan Stadium.

Mariota was injured after taking a hit by Dolphins defensive lineman William Hayes, a former Titan. Mariota had just handed the ball off to running back Derrick Henry, and he didn't have the ball when he was hit.

After initially trying to come back and play, Mariota was eventually replaced for good by quarterback Blaine Gabbert.

Vrabel said the Titans have discussed the possibility of adding a third quarterback to the roster, but no decision has been made. The Titans currently have quarterback Logan Woodside on the team's practice squad.

"I think that is what Jon (Robinson) and I are looking at," Vrabel said. "Right now … things are looking OK, but if that situation arises, we'd have to have that conversation about getting another guy in there."

Mariota finished the contest 9-of-16 for 103 yards, with a 36.2 passer rating and the two interceptions. Gabbert was 11-of-22 for 117 yards, and he guided a second half drive.

Mariota was intercepted on consecutive throws after returning from the injury, and the Titans made the decision to go with Gabbert the rest of the way in the eventual 27-20 defeat.

Mariota said he wasn't going to make many excuses about the injury, and the throws that followed the injury, which Vrabel described on Sunday as an elbow/shoulder injury after taking a hit.

On Monday, Vrabel reiterated he asked referee Jerome Boger about the hit, and was told it was legal since he was executing a fake.

"Again, I asked him: I said, 'Are we going low?,'" Vrabel said on Monday. "And Jerome was like, 'Yeah, if he is carrying out a fake.' As long as that is the rule, we just have to do business as business is being done. For every quarterback that is carrying out a fake, we'll have to do it the same way.

"That's what I told (defensive coordinator) Dean (Pees). I said, 'Dean, if that is legal, we have to do it the same exact way. We have to do business as business is being done.'"

Vrabel said the Titans and Mariota can do things moving forward to protect Mariota.

"Marcus knows ways to protect himself," Vrabel said. "Clearly, letting the defender know and the official know that you don't have the ball. … I think those things happen, unfortunately. You are always looking for ways to take care of players, but sometimes these things are unavoidable."

The Tennessee Titans take on the Miami Dolphins in Week 1 of the 2018 season on Sunday, Sept. 9, 2018 at Hard Rock Stadium. (Photos: Donn Jones, AP)

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