By Terry McCormick
In his final media availability before training camp opens, Marcus Mariota indicated that he is now running fully and needs only to work on his cutting in game-like situations to be ready to go.
“There are certain things, whether it’s cutting full speed, I’ve gone to that point where I can run. Now it’s being able to cut and do things in terms of running with the football. Those are the things I will continue to work on this next month,” Mariota said Wednesday.
The Titans continue to be cautious with their starting quarterback now nearly six months after he had surgery to insert a plate into his broken right fibula. Mariota has not worked in team drills in mini-camp, instead staying with 7-on-7 and individual work. He did do some team work drills in mid-camp, but only took about a half-dozen snaps total.
Still, he said he feels like he could play right now.
“I feel great. For me personally, I’m in a great spot. I feel comfortable. I feel like I could be out there right now,” Mariota said.
Titans coach Mike Mularkey has indicated on several occasions that Mariota has progressed to the point where he will start training camp in late July with no restrictions. Mularkey admits he had no expectation that Mariota would be as far along as he has gotten in his recovery.
“I didn’t expect anything in the OTAs. … I feel good about his recovery, but it doesn’t surprise me because of how he worked to get back,” Mariota said.
Mariota credited the Titans medical and training staff with helping him in his recovery. He also indicated that he has cleared the mental hurdle of worrying about testing his surgically repaired leg.
“From a strength standpoint, I’m good. … Now it’s getting to go through that mental obstacle of you want to protect it. It’s good and now you just trust that you can do the movements that you’ve been doing,” Mariota said.
The quarterback’s plans for the six-week break will include a trip home to Hawaii, then a stop at the University of Oregon to work out and finally a return to Nashville where he and his receivers will throw together about a week before camp.
“I’m going to head home, see my family back in Hawaii. From there, I’ll probably spend a week or two in Oregon to train,” Mariota said.