NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Marcus Mariota insists he feels fine and is fully recovered from the broken right leg that ended his season early last December. That’s not stopping the Tennessee Titans from protecting him as much as possible.
Oh, the quarterback practiced fully Saturday as the Titans kicked off training camp, and Mariota took part in team drills after being limited to individual and 7-on-7 passing drills during the offseason.
Fans eager to see Mariota really take off running likely will have to wait until the season opener Sept. 10 against Oakland.
Pro Bowl tight end Delanie Walker sums up the concern the Titans have about their franchise quarterback, even though the veteran says he can’t tell watching that Mariota ever broke his leg.
“Every play I’m asking him, ‘Are you good?'” Walker said. “He’s like, ‘I’m straight. OK, I’m just making sure. I can’t tell.’ And I know he’s a fighter, and he probably wouldn’t say nothing if he didn’t feel good. That’s why I’m always checking on like, ‘You good?’ At the end of the day, he’s out there making the throws, running around, so I feel like if he says he’s good, he’s 100 percent.”
Even better, the Titans made sure the biggest weapon they added for Mariota this offseason will be on the field Sunday. They announced about 30 minutes into practice that Corey Davis, the first wide receiver drafted at No. 5 overall, had agreed to terms. The 6-foot-3 Davis from Western Michigan was the last draft pick in the NFL to get his contract wrapped up.
“It’s huge. Huge,” Mariota said of getting Davis into camp.
Mariota did have one new target he connected with on a couple of nice passes in veteran Eric Decker. The Titans signed the seven-year veteran after the offseason program ended in June, and Mariota started working on building chemistry with Decker a couple weeks ago when several receivers joined the quarterback working out around Nashville. Davis, busy with a wedding, missed out.
“He’s savvy,” Mariota said of Decker. “He understands routes. He understands how to find ways to get open, create separation, so I think the way he was able to come out today and make some plays says a lot about him. And again, we’re excited.”
But perhaps, nobody is more excited than Mariota. The No. 2 pick overall in 2015 had his second NFL season ended Dec. 24 when he broke his right leg trying to escape the pocket in a loss at Jacksonville. Hopes for the first playoff berth since 2008 disappeared, suddenly turned into worries about Mariota’s health.
Mariota is in camp a little lighter at 218 pounds after weighing about six pounds heavier last season and couldn’t be happier to be back at work. Yes, he feels very healthy.
“When we left in June, I was in a good spot,” Mariota said. “But I think I got better every day, and to be able to be out here today and to run around and do some of the things the coaches wanted me to do felt really good.”
Mariota also connected with Walker on a nice pass with the tight end sliding to the ground at the finish.
“The throw to Delanie, he roped it in there,” coach Mike Mularkey said. “He had some out of pocket plays obviously we did not do at all in the offseason, was great with those, made some throws. Those are good signs for Day One.”
Notes: WR Tajae Sharpe started camp on the physically unable to perform list, still recovering from surgery in June on a stress fracture in his foot.