Mariota put on 5-to-10 pounds during the offseason, ESPN.com's Turron Davenport reports. "I'm a little bit heavier," Mariota said Monday. "When it comes down to it, being able to absorb the hits and be healthy for a full year, those things haven't happened yet."
Mariota has missed at least one game in each of his four NFL seasons and is coming off a 2018 campaign marred by injuries to his neck, right elbow, right shoulder, back, oblique, rib and foot. He played 14 games (13 starts) en route to finishing the year with career highs for rushing yards (357) and completion percentage (68.9), but his injuries forced the Titans into an uber-conservative approach at times. The team spent big money this offseason on slot receiver Adam Humphries and guard Rodger Saffold to help new offensive coordinator Arthur Smith, who was promoted within the organization and plains to retain Matt LaFleur's terminology. The Titans hope extra weight will help Mariota stay healthy, but they've also hedged their bets with the addition of backup quarterback Ryan Tannehill. Despite the long list of injuries from last year, Mariota said he won't have any limitations during the offseason program.
Mariota (neck) dealt with a slew of injuries that flew under the radar in 2019, including a sprained AC joint in his shoulder, a cracked vertebra, a strained oblique, a broken rib and a significant tear of the plantar fascia in his foot, Paul Kuharsky of 104.5 The Zone Nashville reports.
In addition to the issues that largely went unnoticed, Mariota missed Week 2 with an ulnar nerve injury in his throwing arm and Week 17 with a neck stinger. While yet to play a full 16-game season, the 25-year-old has started 55 of 64 possible games since Tennessee made him the No. 2 overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft. The Titans recently invested in a better backup quarterback, swapping out Blaine Gabbert for Ryan Tannehill a couple weeks ago. There won't be any question about the Week 1 starter, but it is possible Mariota feels some added pressure if he gets off to a slow start in September. The Titans added reinforcements to help avoid that scenario, shopping at the top of the free-agent market for guard Rodger Saffold and slot receiver Adam Humphries. Despite the long list of 2018 injuries, coach Mike Vrabel expects Mariota to be ready for the start of the offseason program in mid-April.
Mariota should still be locked in as the Week 1 starter, but he'll feel a bit more pressure than he did in 2018 when Blaine Gabbert was the No. 2 quarterback. It makes sense for the Titans to invest in a high-end backup, considering their starter has yet to play a 16-game season through four years in the NFL. The team has also made an honest effort to improve the talent around Mariota, signing guard Rodger Saffold and slot receiver Adam Humphries earlier this week. Working his way back from a season-ending neck injury, Mariota is expected to be ready for the start of the offseason program in April, at which point he'll work with new offensive coordinator Arthur Smith. The Titans plan to retain the playbook terminology they used under Matt LaFleur in 2018.
Head coach Mike Vrabel said Mariota (neck) is on pace to be ready for OTAs in April, Erik Bacharach of the Nashville Tennessean reports.
Mariota took a seat in Tennessee's regular-season finale in order to protect a neck injury that was causing nerve issues in his throwing hand. The injury apparently wasn't severe enough to require surgery or treatment of any kind, though, so Mariota only had to rest and lay low in order to recover. It sounds like that plan has worked swimmingly thus far, and it will set Mariota up for a full offseason to lead the Titans offense in adjusting to life under new offensive coordinator Arthur Smith.
Mariota (neck/foot) will work with the same playbook terminology in 2019 after the Titans promoted Arthur Smith to replace Matt LaFleur as their offensive coordinator, Jim Wyatt of the team's official site reports.
Coach Mike Vrabel said he didn't want to subject Mariota and his teammates to massive changes for a second straight offseason. Of course, the Titans still have a lot of work to do on the offensive side, coming off a 2018 campaign in which they ranked 27th in points (19.4 per game) and 25th in yards (312.6 per game). The team seemed to find an identity with running back Derrick Henry's late-season explosion, but the bigger picture shows a campaign defined by Mariota's sacks and difficulties with staying healthy. The 25-year-old quarterback is now heading into a contract season, playing under the fifth-year option on his rookie deal. It's unclear if the Titans are interested in discussing an extension, as Mariota didn't inspire much confidence in 2018. There haven't been any indications his late-season neck injury will impact his offseason preparation.
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