"That is the mentality that Zach has," Lewan told the Tennessean this week. "He thinks of himself as a starter, and the guys in the locker room do also. I don't think he is going to give it up easily. Mariota, I don't know the guy and I am sure he is a great worker and from everything I hear about him he's a great guy. But Zach is not the kind of guy who in conflict is going to flee. He's going to fight it out."
Lewan went to Mettenberger's house the night of the draft and said that the sixth-round pick and one-time presumed starter still showed up for work on Friday and Monday after seeing the Titans take their QB of the future in Mariota.
"Obviously being 23 years old, you don't ever want to see that happen. It's hard man, that stuff is tough. If I was in that situation I'd have a tougher time than he did," said Lewan. But the kind of guy Mettenberger is, he ... doesn't care what round someone is drafted in or what pick necessarily. He is there to be successful and he is going to work his butt off."
One of the hidden dangers with Mettenberger running private workouts leading up to the draft was that something like this could happen. Players could rally around the underdog, especially when it seemed like a certainty that Tennessee would deal the pick.
But now Mariota comes in with at least one prominent player rooting for his backup. While that's not necessarily a bad thing, franchise quarterbacks typically don't have a lot of people to win over.