Titans' Marcus Mariota says hamstring better, still work to be done ahead of MNF

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The vibe around Tennessee Titans headquarters hints toward Marcus Mariota returning to action Monday night against the Indianapolis Colts. The lone caveat is that his hamstring will need to continue to progress during activities this week.

Mariota said he "absolutely" feels good about his chances to play.

"I feel a lot better," Mariota said. "Hopefully toward the end of the week, I'll get more on my plate and feel comfortable and try to play on Monday."

Titans coach Mike Mularkey said Mariota would need to prove he can protect himself in order to play.

"He's got to be able to move around really pretty good to be able to play and not put himself in a position that he's going to reinjure himself,'' Mularkey said. "He's got to show that by the end of the week.''

Mariota was active throughout early drills Wednesday, completing a bevy of passes to receivers, completing some three-step drops and taking simulated snaps from under center. He jogged from one side of the field to the next as the quarterbacks and receivers swapped sides during drills.

Matt Cassel, who started in place of Mariota during Sunday's loss to the Miami Dolphins, took over as the Titans moved into full-team reps.

Mariota's return from a one-week absence would be a big boost for a 2-3 Titans team that would be right back in the thick of the AFC South race with a win over the Colts. The Titans' offense struggled against the Dolphins with Cassel under center, losing 16-10.