NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Marcus Mariota may not play for the Titans at all on Thursday night in the preseason finale.
Personally I don’t think the risk of injury from a series or two is enough to offset an additional chance for some live action, but I can understand if Ken Whisenhunt and the Titans feel otherwise.
I can’t understand why the coach doesn’t know, or at least says he doesn’t know, a few days in advance of the game.
Last year in a preseason home loss to Minnesota in the finale, Whisenhunt sat his top two quarterbacks, Jake Locker and Charlie Whitehurst, in addition to players such as receivers Kendall Wright and Nate Washington, safeties Michael Griffin and Bernard Pollard, the entire starting offensive line, tight end Delanie Walker, defensive ends Jurrell Casey and Ropati Pitoitua, outside linebacker Derrick Morgan and several other starters or prominent role players.
I’m guessing that wasn’t a spur-of-the-moment decision, and the decision on Mariota won’t be either.
Buy a ticket to the fourth preseason game and you should know the odds are good that the stars you really want to see will play very little or not at all.
But Whisenhunt was eager last week to provide context to the Week 3 matchup in Kansas City. The Titans were tired, heading on the road after a short week, and there were going to be a lot of challenges at Arrowhead Stadium, Whisenhunt told us.
If he can offer warning about that with ease, I think he can offer warning to people who might want to come to Nissan Stadium to see Mariota, but might prefer to stay home if he’ll simply be a sideline ornament.
Whisenhunt said he remembers players who had a chance to solidify a spot on the roster doing so with a big play in the preseason finale.
As for a fourth-game injury that cost a significant player significant time?
“I don’t really recall that happening, and I thank you for jinxing us by saying it,” he said to laughs. “Maybe I’ve been blocking it out because it’s a bad memory.”
To his credit, Whisenhunt said he’s not thought for a second about the marketing element of playing or not playing Mariota. He shouldn’t have to. He’s thinking about what’s best for his team.
Why it’s a big deal to share what that is for a meaningless game just a few days away is hard for me to get my head around.