NASHVILLE, Tenn. –** Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota will play in the preseason opener against the New York Jets.
Just how much action Mariota gets on Saturday night remains to be seen.
Titans coach Mike Mularkey made the team's plans known after Monday night's practice at Saint Thomas Sports Park. The team will make the decision on playing time during a personnel meeting on Thursday night, Mularkey said.
"I don't want to see what (Marcus) would do if I told him he couldn't play," Mularkey said with a smile. "I think it is important for him to get into a real game and a real rush where they can actually come close to you. Here they are instructed to stay away from him at all cost. … It will be good for him to get his feet wet a little bit."
Mariota suffered a fractured fibula in the team's December 24 contest against the Jaguars, had surgery, and then began a lengthy rehabilitation process.
The third-year quarterback took part in all 10 of the team's organized team activities, and in the offseason minicamp. He's looked good in training camp, including the team's scrimmage on Saturday night at Nissan Stadium.
Titans tight end Delanie Walker said the team needs to make sure Mariota doesn't get hit in the preseason, starting on Saturday night.
"The one thing we need to make sure is that we protect our quarterback," Walker said. "I think that is going to be the biggest key, just making sure Marcus does not get touched in the preseason.
"It is always good to play against another team that is really trying to hit you, real blitzes and they're not pulling up. I think that is good work for everyone. But Marcus has looked good. He looks like his old self in practices. We cringe when he runs, but he looks good."
In his second NFL season, Mariota completed 276-of-451 passes for 3,426 yards, 26 touchdowns, nine interceptions and a 95.6 passer in 2016 before suffering the fractured fibula in a Week 16. The quarterback added 60 rushing attempts for 349 yards and two touchdowns.
Mariota's 95.6 passer rating ranks third in franchise history for a single season, behind only Warren Moon's 96.8 in 1990, when he was the Associated Press Offensive Player of the Year, and Steve McNair's 100.4 in 2003, when he was the NFL's Co-MVP.
Mariota would've played in the Pro Bowl if he hadn't suffered the injury.
"I think Marcus is moving around great,'' running back DeMarco Murray said. "Obviously it is still early in camp but I think he has done a great job. He has been taking control and finding guys."
The Titans open the regular season on September 10 against the Raiders at Nissan Stadium.
TitansOnline.com looks back at Marcus Mariota's second NFL season in 2016. (AP Photos)