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Ken Whisenhunt Tackles Topics in Monday's Presser

Posted Aug 24, 2015

Titans head coach Ken Whisenhunt addresses all of the key topics during Monday's press conference at Saint Thomas Sports Park.


NASHVILLE, Tenn. —The big news out of Titans coach Ken Whisenhunt’s afternoon presser on Monday centered on cornerback Jason McCourty, who had surgery to repair a groin injury.

Some of the other big topics Whisenhunt discussed a day after the team’s 27-14 win over the Rams:

Marcus Mariota’s poise

In his second preseason start, Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota didn’t turn the ball over, and his poise under pressure was impressive, Whisenhunt said.

Mariota completed 5-of-8 passes for 59 yards in a victory over the Rams.

Whisenhunt noted the Titans weren’t as good on third down (4-of-12) in the game, and “we didn’t finish off drives.” But overall he saw improvement, and didn’t pin the problems on Mariota. He especially liked the way Mariota hung in the pocket to find running back Dexter McCluster on a third-down throw that went off of McCluster’s hands in the end zone.

“As far as Marcus goes, he did another good job of handling the process,’’ Whisenhunt said. “He did a nice job on out-of-the-pocket throws, standing in the pocket…We’ll just keep on that path.”

Offensive line plan

Whisenhunt said the starting group from Sunday night will likely start again on Friday night in Kansas City. Sunday’s starters included Byron Bell at left guard and Jeremiah Poutasi at right tackle.

Whisenhunt saw some good things and bad things from the group, he said.

“But they were physical, and we started the game better and I certainly like that,” Whisenhunt said. “As a unit, I think they did a nice job…I said last week and I stay with this: We are still looking for the best combination. Could this be it? Sure. It could be it. But we are going to continue to look at those guys and hopefully that trend will continue.”

Zach Mettenberger’s value

Mariota has received plenty of praise during the preseason, but back-up Zach Mettenberger has performed at a high level himself.

Whisenhunt seemed to scoff at the suggestion the Titans should consider trading Mettenberger, which has been suggested by national observers.

“In the league today it is very hard for one quarterback to make it through the whole season, so you better have a plan in case your starter doesn’t go,’’ Whisenhunt said. “So we certainly feel very fortunate that we have Zach, and what Zach brings to the table.”

In two preseason games, Mettenberger has completed 15-of-20 passes for 220 yards and two touchdowns, with one interception. He has a passer rating of 122.9.

“You have to give credit to Zach, he is really playing well,’’ Whisenhunt said. “We are excited about Zach, and we are excited about Marcus. Our whole quarterback group has played very well. It’s a good problem to have.”

Bishop Sankey’s improvement

Sankey ran for 45 yards on six carries against the Rams, and Whisenhunt said Sankey showed improvement compared to Week 1 of the preseason in Atlanta.

“Bishop has been working hard to get better,’’ Whisenhunt said. “He got better last night, and that is really all that I am concerned about. We want to continue with that trend. He has worked really hard. He was decisive last night, he made some really good cuts and he looked very good running the football. I think it was a combination of a lot of things, but it was nice to see.”

Sankey has 60 yards on 14 carries in the first two weeks of the preseason. He managed just 15 yards on eight carries vs. Atlanta.

Playing time

Because of the dates – and time between games -- on the preseason schedule, the Titans might have to adjust their thinking in terms of how much they might play their starters in the third preseason game.

Typically, teams usually play their starters the most in the third preseason game. The Titans face the Chiefs just five days after playing Sunday night vs. the Rams. Whisenhunt said the Titans might adjust their thinking this week.

“This week is a little different because it’s a short week,’’ Whisenhunt said. “So I think it may be a different approach than a normal third preseason game because of that. We have a lot of guys that are nicked up and a lot will be determined with how well we get during the week.”

Whisenhunt said there’s a chance the starters will play into the third quarter, but it’s TBD.

Injury update

Tight end Delanie Walker (thumb) will play on Friday at Kansas City, Whisenhunt said. Defensive lineman Sammie Hill (knee) is also expected to play, Whisehunt said.

Cornerback Blidi Wreh-Wilson (ankle) and linebackers J.R. Tavai (knee), Yannick Cudjoe-Virgil (hamstring) and Zaviar Gooden (hamstring) are all recovering, but will be questionable vs. the Chiefs.

“One of the three, or two of the three we have hopes that they’ll be able to play,’’ Whisenhunt said. “I don’t think it’s realistic to think all three of them would, but…we’d like to have them back.”

Receiver Andrew Turzilli suffered a high ankle injury and is expected to miss time.