Anyone who was rooting for Tennessee Titans wide receiver Marc Mariani to successfully make the Week 1 roster—well, that appears short-lived.
Another obstacle has come between Mariani and the Week 1 roster. During the preseason opener against the Washington Redskins—his first in-game action since he broke his leg last August—Mariani severely bruised his shoulder. The injury occurred during a block. Mariani had two punt returns and a 32-yard kickoff return.
Head coach Mike Munchak expects Mariani to miss several weeks (The Tennessean). On Aug. 31, all NFL teams must trim their roster to 53 players. Injured players could start the season on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list or injured reserve. If Mariani were placed on PUP, he couldn’t return before Week 7.
Let’s assume that Mariani returns sooner than later. Could the Titans trust his durability? Darius Reynaud and Khalid Wooten both have golden opportunities to win a roster spot and become more than game-day inactives during the 2013-14 season.
What an unfortunate injury with even more unfortunate timing. His absence could help bottom-tier receivers who are looking to win jobs. With Kevin Walter and Mariani both sidelined, Nate Washington is even more of a lock than he was before and Michael Preston should get more opportunities to impress the coaches.
How will this affect the final roster? Who wins the returner duties? If Reynaud stays, does that affect Jackie Battle, Jalen Parmele and/or Quinn Johnson? Do you have any concern that Mariani will rush back from this injury and put himself at even greater risk?
Share your feelings in the comments, Twitter or Facebook.