NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Zach Mettenberger found himself in a familiar position after practice on Wednesday, surrounded by cameras and tape recorders while standing at his locker.
During his six weeks as starting quarterback of the Titans in 2014, the "Mett Show" provided some pretty good entertainment in his corner of the locker room. His sarcastic, brutally honest approach was a can't-miss for reporters covering the team.
Mettenberger knew he was playing then, just like he did his final seasons at LSU.
This week, he's faced with an unfamiliar scenario. Like everyone else, Mettenberger is waiting to see whether starting quarterback Marcus Mariota will be ready to play on Sunday vs. the Falcons.
If Mariota can't go – he sat out practice Wednesday with a knee injury – it will mean the return of the Mett Show.
Mettenberger said he'll be ready, but he's not sure how things will play out. Earlier in the day, Mariota described his own chances of playing as "pretty good."
"It's the same mindset as every week. Nothing is really going to change for me this week. I am going to keep preparing like I am going to play and if that happens I am going to do the best I can,'' Mettenberger said.
"It's part of any back-up's job (to be ready). You never know what could happen in the game. You have to be ready to go in and win a football game. This week is going to be no different."
The Titans didn't win a game in Mettenberger's six starts a year ago, but it was hardly all on him. Last year's Titans finished 2-14, and won just once after a season opening win at Kansas City. Jake Locker guided the team to a win that day, and Charlie Whitehurst led the team to its other win. But the team had some issues.
As a rookie, Mettenberger completed 107-of-179 passes for 1,412 yards and eight touchdowns, with seven interceptions. On Sunday against the Dolphins, Mettenberger came in late for Mariota, and completed 5-of-8 passes for 63 yards.
He admitted it's been tough to watch from the sideline this season.
"Everybody wants to play. It is tough watching someone else at there playing,'' Mettenberger said. "But it is my job to help Marcus as much as I can and it is part of being a team player."
Titans coach Ken Whisenhunt said the team is confident in Mettenberger if Mariota can't go.
"I think there is a good confidence level in Zach,'' Whisenhunt said. "He had a really good preseason. He's been around the guys, there's a good energy in that room with the quarterbacks. It's a good feeling with those guys. So they all support each other, and we feel good. We're confident in Zach and he's worked really hard physically. You can see it. He moves around better, he's throwing it well. He did a nice job in that last part of the game last week, so if Zach goes, we certainly feel good about it.
"Yeah, he's been itching (to play) for a while. He's been excited about just getting a chance to play. It's been that way through the preseason and even getting reps in practice. So that's one of the things you like about Zach."
With Mariota dealing with a sprained MCL, Mettenberger worked with the first group on Wednesday.
The Titans plan to monitor Mariota's progress during the week before making a decision on his status.
"It was good getting back out there and getting hit again," Mettenberger said of playing on Sunday. "It definitely jogs your memory as to what that's like. It was good to get out there, complete a few balls and drive down the field a little bit. Hopefully this week if I get the opportunity to play, I can do that a little more.
"… Hopefully if I get the shot this time around, I'll be able to string together a couple of wins."