January 01, 2012; Houston, TX, USA; Tennessee Titans wide receiver Marc Mariani (83) returns the opening kickoff in a game against the Houston Texans at Reliant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
One of the more interesting parts of this preseason for the Tennessee Titans is what exactly to do with Marc Mariani.
Last season, Mariani suffered a season-ending leg injury which did not allow him to return to action. While his recovery took place, a lot of things happened. A season has come and gone, and a new season with the return of Mariani’s health was on the horizon.
The Titans hit a gem last season finding Darius Reynaud to replace Mariani in the return game. However, even with the re-signing of Reynaud, the Titans coaching staff and fan base was looking forward to the competition between the two for the starting return spot.
Mariani returned and was back to full health. He was ready to compete and show what he had again.
Then, disaster struck…
Mariani suffered a shoulder injury in the first preseason game against the Washington Redskins. Not only did this hurt his chances to earn a spot as a starter again, but even a chance just to be on the roster.
The final cuts for the Titans roster are being made to complete the team and the true question on everyone’s mind…
What will become of Marc Mariani?
Looking at Mariani, he was having an extremely productive training camp and preseason setup, strong enough to push Reynaud and make some noise in becoming the Titans starting returner. He may have moved in on the receiving rotation as well. So the productivity, skill level,and playmaking ability is there.
Mariani has also been highly praised as a “fan favorite” and one of the most likeable players in the locker room by his teammates. So these are all positives to keep Mariani right?
But what goes against him really causes concern. First off, Mariani has now had multiple concerns with staying healthy. While both were out of his control, they still raise a lot of questions to a team having to make some hard roster cuts. Not to mention the Titans have Reynaud in the waiting and he was re-signed for a reason: he is very capable of performing the job.
Also, with the increased number of receivers, it would be hard for Mariani to squeeze into the receiving rotation like he could have before. Thus, decreasing his versatility on the roster. Why keep Mariani with no guarantee or return and sacrificing a roster spot in the “hope” that he does? These are all questions that hurt Mariani being considered for the final roster.
It is truly a matter of interest in what will happen to Mariani. An article was posted earlier on The Tennessean in which Dowell Loggains expressed a high interest in keeping Mariani:
"“He’s a guy I believe in, a guy I know can make plays as a receiver and as a return guy. I know the quarterbacks have great confidence in him. He’s one of the more well-liked players in the locker room. Every time he gets on the field, he just finds a way to make plays.”"
So this could be a push in trying to keep Mariani around and on the roster. For Mariani, you have to appreciate and breathe a sigh of relief knowing the offensive coordinator is on your side.
It will be interesting to see what the Titans decide to do with Mariani. Most Titans faithful will keep a close watch. I can see the positives and negatives to both sides of the argument. But in the end, opinions don’t matter and only the action of the Titans staff does.