The Tennessee Titans will let their starting quarterback decision linger until right before Sunday's game against the Miami Dolphins.
Marcus Mariota, who has been limited in practice all week with a left hamstring strain, will be listed as questionable for Sunday. Titans head coach Mike Mularkey said whether the QB plays will be a game-time decision that will involve Mariota, himself, the training staff and the front office. They'll have to balance being safe with their franchise quarterback and letting him play in a limited pocket passer role. There's no secret which way Mariota wants this to go.
"If I'm able to move around, hand the ball off and able to drop back, I'll definitely play," said Mariota, who said he would want to play if the game was Friday.
Mariota hasn't tested his hamstring in that capacity during practice this week. He's gradually done more every day this week, but most of his work has consisted of throwing intermediate passes in individual drills before going inside for rehab while Matt Cassel leads the first-team offense.
Cassel will start if Mariota can't play. The Titans believe a week of receivers building chemistry with Cassel will help tremendously if he has to play Sunday. The Titans' second half against the Texans with Cassel under center wasn't pretty. Brandon Weeden would be active as Cassel's backup if Mariota was out.
The Titans have used the phrase "we're being safe" a few times in regards to Mariota, but the quarterback acknowledged it would be tough for him to sit out if he feels he can fulfill basic quarterback responsibilities.
"My first and foremost goal is to get healthy," Mariota said. "If I am able to play, I'd love to play."
At practice, Mariota didn't look like a quarterback who would start on Sunday, but running back DeMarco Murray didn't miss a game after suffering a similar hamstring injury earlier this season.
Waiting to name a starting quarterback also forces the Dolphins to prepare this week for both Mariota and Cassel.
"He's got a lot of starts, a lot of wins," Mularkey said of Cassel, who has a 36-44 record as a starter. "We're confident in Matt."