Vrabel expects Marcus Mariota, Blaine Gabbert to play


Tennessee Titans coach Mike Vrabel has a plan to hopefully secure a win in Sunday's game against the Houston Texans.

While starting quarterback Marcus Mariota continues to be evaluated for a right elbow injury, Vrabel told reporters Friday he expects Mariota and backup quarterback Blaine Gabbert to see playing time.

"We are evaluating," Vrabel said about Mariota's injury, via Jim Wyatt of the Titans' official website. "We anticipate both of those guys playing in the game, OK? We are going to have to do a lot of things to win this football game, and I would anticipate both of those guys playing at some point and time."

Vrabel didn't indicate how much Gabbert could play or any specifics regarding when or how he might be used in conjunction with Mariota.

Mariota, who suffered the injury in Week 1, put in a full practice Wednesday before being limited Thursday and was observed by reporters on the practice field Friday. And the Titans head coach pointed out the starting quarterback has focused on potentially being available.

"Marcus is going to do everything he can to get ready, like every player is going to do everything they can to get ready for the game on Sunday," Vrabel told reporters.

Still, it is a little surprising to hear the Titans have a contingency plan that involves Mariota and Gabbert both playing.

Mariota, who is dealing with a pinched nerve in his elbow, still has not regained complete feeling in his fingers, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported, per sources informed. He's going to try to play but there is no telling how he'll respond which is why Gabbert is expected to rotate in, Rapoport added.

The quarterback situation becomes even more complicated when considering the Titans are without both starting tackles, as Taylor Lewan (concussion) and Jack Conklin (knee) have been ruled out for Week 2.

Without the bookend blockers, exposing a less than 100 percent healthy Mariota to the Texans' pass rush might become a recipe for disaster even if he splits playing time with Gabbert.