Upbeat Tennessee Titans expect quarterback Marcus Mariota to return for training camp

By The Sports Xchange   |   June 17, 2017 at 1:56 AM
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NASHVILLE -- The Tennessee Titans were ahead of schedule on a number of fronts when the spring camps came to an end Thursday.

As he did last year, Titans coach Mike Mularkey made Thursday's final day of mini-camp a fun one, with some competition that allowed players to get out of another day of work.

Mularkey and the Titans held a punt, pass and kick competition between players and coaches, won by the players as backup offensive tackle Dennis Kelly nailed a 27-yard field goal to end the offseason work with no practice on the final day.

The Titans have expectations this season that have been present in previous years, after having gone 9-7 a year ago, their first winning campaign since 2011.

Mularkey cautioned that just because the Titans are on the uptick and are regarded by some as the favorite to win the AFC South in 2017, that simple expectations are not enough.

"We've harped on the preparation that it starts all over, nothing from last year, nothing from the year before," Mularkey said. "You can't base anything on the year before. There are new faces in the locker room. Other teams have new faces. We can't rely on what we did."

The Titans have some good news in that quarterback Marcus Mariota should be a full go after the Titans took it easy with him through OTAs and mini-camp. Mularkey indicated that Mariota will have no restrictions when he comes back for training camp and will have a training regimen sent with him while he is away to complete the rehab process.

If the Titans are going to take the next step in 2017, having a healthy Mariota who can play with the same type of effort and performance that he had before he broke his right fibula last December is imperative.

"From a strength standpoint, I'm good. ... Now it's getting to 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.

A few other players won't be as fortunate as they will have to stay behind to do their rehab work during the five-week break before training camp.

Linebacker Kevin Dodd, recovering from a second surgery on his foot, will have about three weeks' worth of rehab left, while defensive tackle Karl Klug (Achilles tendon) and receiver Tajae Sharpe (foot) will stay at the facility as well in hopes of being ready for camp.

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