Tennessee Titans: Message for Zach Mettenberger
By P. L. Colter
It’s been 62 days since the Tennessee Titans selected Marcus Mariota, and as we move toward day 63, he remains the league’s only unsigned first round draft pick. A peculiar set of events…considering the hype surrounding Mariota’s arrival, and being named the starting qb this upcoming season.
Fans are growing weary, and deservedly so, but the primary parties involved don’t seem too concerned. Even if it means missing the start of camp.
Titans General Manager Ruston Webster told ESPN Staff Writer Paul Kuharsky on his Midday 180 radio show that he’s confident a deal would get done, but is not fretting a holdout…for a day or two..from the number 2 overall pick.
A couple of weeks later, Mariota echoed those sentiments to the NFL Network, stating that he too…is not too concerned with missing a “few days” of camp.
If Mariota and the Titans are both talking about this dragging into training camp, then you know that a compromise is not in either’s immediate plans.
And so…the game of chicken continues.
While local and national pundits that are close to the situation are calling for patience, pointing to the fact that the start of training camp is still 29 days away, one person in particular should be on high alert.
Dec 7, 2014; Nashville, TN, USA; Tennessee Titans quarterback Zach Mettenberger (7) passes against the New York Giants during the first half at LP Field. Mandatory Credit: Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports
You remember him? The one that told the world that he’s willing to “fight Mariota to the death” to remain Tennessee’s starting qb this year?
Well, Mettenberger is now fully recovered from his shoulder injury, and chomping at the bit to reclaim his old job. With Mariota’s contract situation in flux for the foreseeable future, I have one message for Mr. Mettenberger.
To his credit, Mettenberger has remained silent during mini-camp, going about his business and accepting his demotion with professionalism. But today he is the Titans’ starting qb, and it would behoove him to act that way until told otherwise.
Mettenberger should be on the phone with every receiver, setting up a “not so” secret workout session with them. I would throw any thought of a vacation out of the window, and become a permanent fixture at the facility this summer. Working out, watching film, conducting myself as if Mariota is not a member of the team.
Because as of today…he isn’t.
It’s more than reasonable to suggest that Mariota will be immediately reinserted into the starting lineup once he does sign, but if both sides are braced for a holdout, who can guarantee that it will only last for a few days?
Tennessee’s first preseason game is August 14th, two weeks after the start of training camp. If Mariota misses the first week or so, then Mettenberger will have to start that game. From there, you just let the chips fall where they may.
Remember, Mettenberger said fight to the death, and although he later put a lighter spin on the statement, anyone with an ounce of competitiveness in them knows that he was dead serious.
No pun intended.
Mettenberger could be looking at a second chance to make this a competition after all.
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