Zach Mettenberger says he'll fight to keep starting job with Titans

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Zach Mettenberger is going to do his best to make it hard for the Tennessee Titans to hand over the starting quarterback job to Marcus Mariota.

"I don't [know] what the mindset is, but at the end of the day I can just control what I do and I'm extremely confident in myself, almost to a fault," Mettenberger, last year's sixth-round pick and Tennessee's incumbent starting quarterback, told ESPN's Adam Caplan in a text. "But people who know me know I'm not going down without a fight to the death."

Mariota, speaking after the first practice of Titans rookie minicamp on Friday, said his mentality would match Mettenberger's.

"I'm going to have the same mindset," Mariota said. "Overall, I think together that will make the team better. Competition will drive this team. I've gotten to know Zach, Zach's an awesome guy, he's helped me out since I've been here. I think as this process goes on we'll be able to push each other and make this team better."

Mettenberger, not known for his mobility at the position, said more time after knee surgery in his final year at LSU has helped him as an NFL quarterback.

"Offseason has been good, I lost some weight, am down to 225," Mettenberger told ESPN. "Moving a lot quicker, no longer worried about my knee which is a great feeling. But I loved getting a chance to hang out with guys outside of the facility. It was an eye-opening experience to learn what these guys are about."

He said he learned a lot as a rookie on a 2-14 team and felt he had to fight to earn respect.

"Biggest thing I learned as a rook is the business and politics of this game and it's not always what you want, especially as a low-round pick no matter how well you think you do," Mettenberger said. "But you keep fighting to earn the respect you think you deserve. Also learn I can play in this game and can compete with the best if I'm given a chance."

Titans coach Ken Whisenhunt said before the draft that if the team selected a quarterback second overall, it would expect him to start right away. After Mariota's selection, the coach said the plan was for the rookie to start.