TitansOnline.com Senior Writer and Editor Jim Wyatt breaks down the quarterback position for the Titans entering the team’s 2017 training camp.
Offseason developments: Mariota spent the first part of the offseason recovering from last year’s surgery on his fractured fibula. But he made it back for all 10 of the organized team activities, and the minicamp. He made significant progress, and is expected to be full-go at the start of camp. Cassel worked with the 1s early in the offseason, but a thumb injury — and surgery — sidelined him. Tanney benefited from the extra work. He was sharp while working with the first team. Ferguson also got more reps than he expected coming in, and made progress.
In the spotlight: Mariota. All eyes will be on Mariota at the start of camp, and leading up to the season. Mariota was held back during offseason work, and he didn’t have pass rushers in his face. While he’ll be outfitted in a red, non-contact jersey, Mariota will face pressure for the first time since last season in practices, including two sessions vs. the Panthers. Things will be turned up more in preseason games. Along the way, Mariota will also look to build chemistry with plenty of new targets, from receivers Corey Davis, Eric Decker and Taywan Taylor to tight end Jonnu Smith. Coming off another successful season in Year 2, Mariota is poised to take another big step in his third NFL season.
Battle to watch: Cassel vs. Tanney. The Titans re-signed Cassel this offseason to be the No.2, so he has to be considered the favorite heading into camp. He has valuable experience, is a good resource for Mariota, and he stepped in and played well last season when given the chance. Tanney continues to grow, however, and he’ll be in a better position to compete after getting a bulk of the offseason work. With no practice squad eligibility left, his mission is to stick on the active roster.Keep an eye on: Ferguson. The Western Kentucky product threw just 41 passes in college, and aimed to prove himself when he arrived in Tennessee as an undrafted free agent. After getting some extra work in the offseason with Mariota limited and Cassel sidelined, he made progress. Can he do enough in camp to make himself a practice squad candidate in the event the team keeps just two quarterbacks in the 53-man roster?
Next up: Running backs.