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Titans strive to get Mariota on-field work
Marcus Mariota's recovery is ahead of schedule, say the Tennessee Titans, but it is still not complete.
Still that hasn't stopped the Titans from tailoring their organized team activities to accommodate their injured quarterback as much as possible.
Mariota, working his way back from surgery for a broken fibula last December, is not taking part in team drills during organized team activities, so the Titans are doing additional 7-on-7 work to allow the quarterback to work with his receivers to develop timing and to run as much as possible without putting him in harm's way.
"It felt great. Four months ago, I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to participate in OTAs, and being able to do some of the drills and go through practice, it's a lot in my progress and in my recovery. I was just very happy and very grateful to be out there," Mariota said Tuesday.
Titans head coach Mike Mularkey allowed Mariota to take all 15 reps in 7-on-7 work Tuesday, rather than working in the team's other quarterbacks.
"I'll take it day-by-day with Marcus. We monitored him with the scripts. Basically he did everything in walk-through and individual and then we extended our 7-on-7 period to give him more reps. He took all the reps in the 7-on-7 period," Mularkey said.
Mariota said he tries to take advantage of whatever opportunities come his way on the field, since he is limited by the injury.
"That's the little I'm going to have in terms of my opportunity to see defenses and continue to grow mentally. As much as I can get out of the 7-on-7 and take mental reps in team (drills), I'm going to do my best to do that and continue to prepare for the season," Mariota said.
Mariota had another tactic he used while sitting out team drills. Rather than stand away from the action, he positioned himself about five yards behind the backfield and stood alone in order to observe the play unfold and examine the defensive positioning.
"It was something at Oregon we did. It just helps you mentally. It's like you're still in the play. You can still see everything, especially the defense," he said. "For me, at this point in time, I've got to get as much out of the mental reps as I can, and I'm going to do my best to play the game from there and learn and continue to get better every day."
Mariota said he didn't dwell on his injured leg while on the field Tuesday.
"During the drills, I do my best to not even think about it. As I've gone through my entire process, I've gone about doing things normal and just getting back to where I feel like myself again," Mariota said. "As I'm out there, I'm not even thinking about it. When I'm in here doing rehab, when I'm doing specific things to make my body ready, that's when I'm focusing on it."