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Marcus Mariota: 'Hopefully I'll be ready Sunday'

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Marcus Mariota missed practice on Wednesday, but the Tennessee Titans' rookie is optimistic about his chances of playing on Sunday.

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"My knee has felt better every day. We'll see how it goes, and hopefully I'll be ready Sunday," he said, per the team's official Twitter account. "I'm preparing this week like I'm going to play,"

Mariota added that, in his view, chances are "pretty good" he'll see the field against the Atlanta Falcons.

How healthy the quarterback would be on Sunday remains to be seen after he suffered an MCL sprain early in Sunday's blowout loss to the Miami Dolphins. That Mariota remained in the game until late in the contest was surprising. The rookie was clearly hobbling and wasn't close to full mobility. The Dolphins took advantage of a less than 100 percent quarterback, smothering him with the pass rush and jumping routes, knowing the rookie could no longer beat him with his feet.

It was partly astonishing that coach Ken Whisenhunt left his franchise signal-caller in the game with the injury, but it's not the first time the quarterback has played through injury.

Mariota said Wednesday he played with an MCL injury in college and added that if he needs to slap on a knee brace to play Sunday, he will.

NFL Media's Rand Getlin reported that, per a source close to Mariota, the Titans know they have to protect the rookie from himself, given how competitive he is.

Whisenhunt said the Titans would monitor Mariota through the week, adding that Zach Mettenberger is preparing to play if needed.

"We'll continue to see how (Mariota) progresses," he said. "When he can go, he'll go."

If Mariota plays Sunday hopefully it's because he's healthy and not just gutting it out. Having finally found a franchise quarterback with titanic potential, Tennessee doesn't need to risk long-term damage to the face of the organization.

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