Gabbert is expected to draw the starting assignment Sunday against the Colts with Marcus Mariota (neck) unlikely to be available for the contest, Chris Mortensen of ESPN reports.

Mariota suffered a neck stinger in the Titans' Week 16 win over the Redskins that left him "numb and tingly" afterwards, in the quarterback's own words. He only managed two limited practices this week to take a questionable tag into Sunday, and though he's set to go through a pregame warmup prior to the 8:20 p.m. EST kickoff before his status is decided, the Titans are inclined to err on the side of caution. According to the report, an independent spine specialist has warned the Titans that allowing Mariota to play through the injury would put his ability to throw the football at significant risk beyond this week, so the team will more than likely heed that advice and turn to Gabbert for his second start of the season. Given the limitations as a passer Gabbert has shown both this season and since entering the NFL in 2011, he'll likely act mainly as a game manager so long as the game flow allows for it, with Tennessee expected to lean heavily on a ground-heavy attack with a playoff berth at stake.

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