Marcus Mariota hopeful to return Monday vs. Colts

Marcus Mariota hopes to return to the starting lineup Monday night versus the Indianapolis Colts. The Tennessee Titans quarterback said Wednesday he feels "a lot better" after sitting out last week's loss. Mariota suffered a hamstring injury in Week 4.

Mariota said he "absolutely" hopes to play Monday.

"We're going to take it day by day," Mariota said, via the team's official website. "It's really no different than the process last week. As the days go on, hopefully I'll feel better and better. It is just taking it one day at a time and hopefully I'll be able to go. Hopefully towards the end of the week I'll get more on my plate and hopefully I'll feel comfortable to try and play on Monday."

The Titans offense was a creaky operation in last week's loss to the Dolphins with Matt Cassel under center. Since taking over to finish Week 4, Cassel has completed just 25-of-42 passes for a measly 162 yards, a cringe-worthy 3.9 yards per attempt, one touchdown, two interceptions and a 55.9 passer rating

Tennessee's running game has struggled throughout the season, despite a few big-play bursts, but it's particularly stymied when Mariota is on the sideline.

The mobility Mariota brings to the offense is key. It's also important in defining when the quarterback will return to game action.

"He did more today than he did last week, and that's a good sign," coach Mike Mularkey said of his QB. "He's got to be able to move around pretty good to be able to play, and not put himself in a position where he is going to reinjure himself. He has to prove that by the end of the week."

In a muddled AFC South, the Titans need their quarterback on Monday if they have any hopes of keeping their head above water as we tread toward the middle of the season.