"I don't (know) what the mind-set is, but at the end of the day, I can just control what I do and I'm extremely confident in myself, almost to a fault," Mettenberger told ESPN's Adam Caplan. "But people who know me know I'm not going down without a fight to the death."
Mettenberger also acknowledged that his rookie season taught him about the "business and politics of this game." The offseason brought more lessons after the Titans spent February and March gushing over Mettenberger, last year's sixth-round pick, before using this year's first-round selection on Mariota.
Coach Ken Whisenhunt told NFL Media's Tiffany Blackmon Friday that Mettenberger has been helping Mariota with the Titans' playbook, exemplifying the quarterback's maturity and growth this offseason as he enters his second year.
Mettenberger also went out of his way to organize workouts with teammates, perhaps one reason a pair of Titans wideouts -- Kendall Wright and Justin Hunter -- seemed initially put off by the Mariota selection in captured footage from the team's draft party. Wright later insisted that Hunter, specifically, was deflated only because he lost a $200 bet to Wright that Tennessee would trade the pick.
High-stakes nonsense aside, the Titans spoke very loudly three Thursdays ago, ushering in the Mariota era while leaving Mettenberger to twist in the wind. No matter how well the second-year passer performs, he's destined to play second fiddle to the shiny new rookie.
The latest Around The NFL Podcast welcomes Lindsay Rhodes to discuss the Patriots' response in the "Deflategate" saga and the latest names revealed on the "The Top 100 Players of 2015" countdown. Find more Around The NFL content on NFL NOW.