Spine expert told Marcus Mariota not to play against Colts

mariotaProfile123118NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Now Marcus Mariota rests and heals.

It’s a familiar process for a quarterback who Monday showed he’s just as frustrated with his most recent injury, and the ones before it, as the fans of the Titans are.

Robert Watkins, rated by many as the top-rated spine specialist in the world, examined Mariota after he suffered his first stinger, Nov. 18 in Indianapolis. The quarterback went to Southern California for that visit. [Unlocked]

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Scout's take: Difficult throws weren't hard for Andrew Luck vs. Titans

Scout's take: Difficult throws weren't hard for Andrew Luck vs. Titans

By BLAKE BEDDINGFIELD, special correspondent

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Scouting notes off the Titans' season-ending 33-17 loss to the Colts...

The Colts’ offense was dominant to start the game with two long drives that both ended in touchdowns. They dominated time of possession (Colts 40:13, Titans 19:47), ran the ball consistently versus the Titans defense and stole the game plan that Tennessee wanted to use against the Colts. 


The Titans did make Andrew Luck look uncomfortable for the first time in a long time. The interception for a touchdown throw was uncharacteristic of Luck and it was caused by the speed of the defense and the inside linebackers flying all over the field wreaking havoc.

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There is too much crazy talk about Marcus Mariota

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The sad ending took a backseat to who wasn’t in the huddle for the start. The Titans on Sunday Night Football gave Music City all day to freak out about an early report that Marcus Mariota, injured last week against Washington, wouldn’t play.

And he was not part of the 33-17 loss to the Colts that sent Indianapolis on to the playoffs and will see the Titans disperse Monday, owners of a third consecutive 9-7 record.MarotaWatchingPlayoffs

Already without Jurrell Casey, Logan Ryan and Brian Orakpo on defense and Delanie Walker, Jonnu Smith and Jack Conklin on offense, the Titans got within 17-10 at halftime.

But Mariota would certainly have given them a better chance than Blaine Gabbert did, with two picks and 165 yards on 18 of 29 passing. The Titans converted one of nine third downs, held the ball for only 19:47 (to Indy’s 40:13) and ran just 45 plays (compared to 72).

It is remarkable how many people have simply decreed he should have played, with zero details on his injury beyond the minimal stuff on the league-mandated injury report: “neck/foot, limited, questionable.” If he could have, what possible rationale would there have been for him not to have? [Unlocked]

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Update: Not very likely Marcus Mariota plays; Long-term health trumps tonight, as big as it is

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – ESPN reported Sunday morning that Marcus Mariota is a no-go for the biggest game of his career Sunday night, where the winner of the Colts-Titans matchup will advance to the playoffs and the loser’s season will end.

“…[O]ne source told ESPN that an independent spine specialist has warned the Titans that further damage would put Mariota's ability to throw the football at significant risk beyond this weekend,” Chris Mortensen wrote.MariotaCloseIndy

My conversations early Sunday told me the team is still working with doctors and couldn’t yet say if Mariota would play. A second person said the team will work Mariota out today. But a third finally provided confirmation that it's not very likely Mariota will play.

Titans fans need to let it sink in and move away from the idea that, if Mariota doesn’t play, a simple stinger like the one their high school football-playing son may have suffered is keeping Mariota out. [Unlocked]

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Taylor Lewan fined $10,000 for taunting in sideline exchange with Josh Norman

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Taylor Lewan was fined $10,000 for his postgame interaction with Washington’s Josh Norman last week, when the Titans’ tackle mocked the Washington cornerback claiming he tried to injured Derrick Henry during the Titans win.

It’s Lewan’s second significant fine this month.


On Dec. 4 he was charged $26,739 for postgame interaction with officials following the Titans’ win over the Jets two days earlier.

Friday after practice Lewan told media in more detail what sparked the altercation. (I was not there.)


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Pickers mailbag: If they win, can the Titans make much of a run?

Pickers mailbag: If they win, can the Titans make much of a run?

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Well, it's the weekend, but it's still going to be an awfully long wait for Colts-Titans on Sunday Night Football.

Hopefully, it's one of those memorable nights written into Nashville sporting lore, with a packed stadium witnessing a classic we'll always remember.

Let's start off with Friday night's Periscope.

Now onto your questions.

PK: Of course anything can happen.

If they beat the Colts, the most likely scenario would send them to Houston next week. And that would mean a rematch against a team they lost badly to six weeks earlier, though they also beat the Texans in Week 2, well before Houston found its footing. They’d certainly have a chance in a division matchup.LuckWoodyardIndy

As it stands now, a win there would send them to Kansas City. They beat the Chief there in the first round last year. Andy Reid is a bad playoff coach, but we haven’t seen how he does with Patrick Mahomes as his quarterback. Two road wins by a team missing Delanie Walker, Jurrell Casey, Logan Ryan and Jonnu Smith would be a heck of an accomplishment and one that is hard for me to see.

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Scout's take: Derrick Henry needs precise initial cut vs. Colts

Scout's take: Derrick Henry needs precise initial cut vs. Colts

By BLAKE BEDDINGFIELD, special contributor

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- So many questions going into this game.  Can the Titans beat Andrew Luck who is 10-0 versus them as a starter?

Is Marcus Mariota healthy enough to throw the ball downfield?

Who is going to replace Jurrell Casey and his disruptive play along the front?


For the Titans to win, it starts with Derrick Henry. He needs to get going early and force the Colts’ defense to respect the running game.

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Brian Orakpo on Colts-Titans: 'It comes off like a David and Goliath-type deal'

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – That the Colts are the final hurdle for the 2018 Titans is fitting, as the Colts are always the Titans’ primary hurdle.SnapIndy

Since the two teams were paired as relocated franchises and bundled with two expansion franchises as the AFC South in 2002, Indianapolis holds a 24-8 series lead over Tennessee. They’ve won nine division crowns to the Titans’ two. The Colts have been to two Super Bowls, winning one. The Titans have been to one, winning none.

While Colts quarterbacks Peyton Manning (13-5) and Andrew Luck (10-0) have had great success against Tennessee, the Titans also lost to Curtis Painter while he wore a horseshoe on his helmet.

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