Tennessee Titans QB Marcus Mariota, considered a game-time decision due to a hamstring injury, has been ruled inactive Sunday against the Miami Dolphins, the team announced.
Mariota injured his hamstring in the Titans’ loss to the Texans a week ago as he dove for the end zone while outrunning a defender on a 2-yard touchdown run late in the second quarter. He tried to play with it and tested it out after halftime, but the team decided to be safe and go to Cassel.
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Mariota gradually did more at practice each day this past week, but most of his work consisted of throwing intermediate passes in individual drills before going inside for rehab, while Cassel led the first-team offense.
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The Titans signed veteran quarterback Brandon Weeden last week, who will serve as Cassel’s backup.
After all, he was held out of the second half of last week’s game for those exact reasons. Unable to fully step into his throws over that left leg may have accounted, at least in part, for an interception by Mariota just prior to halftime. Concern about his ability to move in and out of the pocket added to the rationale for holding him out. So, in order to return this week, Mariota would need to erase these same concerns. He did return to practice on Wednesday, but was very limited, making stationary throws and moving very little in general.
Coach Mike Mularkey said Mariota did more each day (although he remained limited throughout the week), and Mariota is certainly making the case to play. But, as ESPN.com’s Cameron Wolfe notes, the team will have to balance its own expressed desire to be safe with its quarterback with allowing him to take the field in a limited role. If Mariota does play, the test will come in-game, as he has not replicated those demands in practice thus far. The Titans will not make Mariota’s status official until game time.