The Tennessee Titans are in a less than desirable position as they prepare to host the Houston Texans in week two.
Tennessee is coming off an ugly road loss to the Miami Dolphins and their starting quarterback is banged up. Oh, and one of the Titans’ best players, left tackle Taylor Lewan, has already been ruled out for the game against the Texans.
It’s safe to say the season isn’t off to a smooth start.
As of early Sunday morning, the Titans haven’t decided whether or not Marcus Mariota will play against the Texans. According to multiple reports, Mariota can’t grip the ball normally. He’s dealing with a pinched nerve in his elbow.
A Titans’ source said Saturday night that the team still had not decided who would start at quarterback Sunday vs Texans, Marcus Mariota or Blaine Gabbert.
Another source said it is “likely a game-time decision, but (Mariota) still isn’t able to grip the ball normally.”
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 16, 2018
I know the Titans’ chances of beating the Texans drops drastically without Mariota on the field, but I think the former Oregon standout needs to take a seat on the bench this week.
Pinched nerves and football don’t exactly go together. I remember watching Dan Marino play against the Dallas Cowboys in 1999 with a pinched nerve. He ended up throwing five interceptions.
If Mariota can’t grip the ball, he could be in for a similar day. And if that happens, I think it does more damage to the Titans’ 2018 than a loss with Gabbert starting.
First off, Mariota doesn’t need to be on the field until he’s mostly healthy. I know players sometimes have to gut it out and play through injuries, but nerve injuries are different than playing on a sprained ankle. The Titans could be risking the loss of Mariota for an extended period of time if they trot him out on Sunday against Houston.
But back to a potentially bad game from Mariota. If he has a disastrous day, there’s going to be a litany of fans ready to move on from Mariota (there’s already a large group of fans ready to move on) and I’m not sure that’s the right move. We’ve seen teams like the Buffalo Bills, Cleveland Browns and New York Jets (among many others) struggle for years to find an adequate starting quarterback. There just aren’t many superstar quarterbacks out there. And finding one is like finding a needle in a haystack. I still think the Titans need to play the long game with Mariota.
And part of playing the long game is sitting him on Sunday against the Texans.
It’s in the best interest of the longterm future of the Titans.
Featured image via USA Today