NFL PLAYER NEWS

Titans’ Mettenberger won’t roll over for Mariota

The Sports Xchange

May 27, 2015 at 9:11 pm.

Mettenberger was drafted in the sixth round in 2014 and his strong-armed presence was often mentioned as the Titans held the No. 2 overall pick in this year's draft. When the team took Mariota with that pick, Mettenberger's task was obvious. Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — There isn’t a quarterback competition to speak of with the Tennessee Titans — Marcus Mariota already is installed as the starter — but Zach Mettenberger is doing his best to push the rookie and himself this offseason.

“Regardless of what they decided to do, it’s all about me competing with myself and competing with the rest of the guys in that quarterback room,” Mettenberger said Wednesday.

Mettenberger was drafted in the sixth round in 2014 and his strong-armed presence was often mentioned as the Titans held the No. 2 overall pick in this year’s draft. When the team took Mariota with that pick, Mettenberger’s task was obvious.

“In a few years from now, I don’t want to look back and regret something,” Mettenberger said. “I’m gonna continue to work my tail off like I’ve been doing the last couple of years.”

The Titans are busy incorporating elements of Mariota’s read-option concepts into their offense, something that doesn’t exactly fit the mountainous, mighty Mettenberger (6 feet 5, 235 pounds, with a cannon for an arm). But the former LSU standout was able to have some fun with the situation.

“Let me first say, if you cut back to the film from my sophomore year in college, I didn’t get a lot of reps, but I got few reps in the zone read,” Mettenberger said. “I don’t know if you remember, but we made it to the national championship running the zone read, so I’m pretty good at it.”

–The Titans’ coaching staff wants running back Bishop Sankey to add a few pounds to be sturdier while pass protecting and running the football. Sankey, who played at 209 as a rookie, is a guy the Titans would like to get up to around 215 or 220 pounds, said coach Ken Whisenhunt.

“I think five to seven pounds is not that big a deal. He was 209,” Whisenhunt said. “We’d like to get him in that 215 to 220 range and as far as having some thump in the A gap when he’s got some protection or to get some extra yards on a carry. You may not think that’s much, but when you’re talking about adding that weight and strength, I feel like that will help him.”

Sankey is also well ahead of last year in terms of his knowledge of the offense. Last year, missing OTAs because of school obligations at Washington stunted his growth regarding the system. Now, he is making up for lost time, Whisenhunt said.

“One of the things that you really underestimate is missing all of that time last year. He was playing catch-up, and it’s hard to do that when you’re thrown to the wolves per se in camp,” Whisenhunt said. “He just never seemed to really catch up. He’s been working from day one, not only on the mental part, but the physical part as well. And you’re starting to see some stuff out here now.”

–DaQuan Jones, who played in just seven games as a rookie, is now projected to be a starter at end for the Titans. Jones, a fourth-round draft pick from Penn State, would step in and play opposite Jurrell Casey on the Tennessee offensive line.

–Defensive tackle Sammie Hill tweaked a knee in practice on Tuesday when he planted too hard. He is still awaiting a full evaluation and diagnosis, but did not work in practice on Wednesday.

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