The wait is over for the Tennessee Titans and their fans who have spent the week following the health of starting quarterback Marcus Mariota. On Friday, following the team's practice at St. Thomas Sports Park, head coach Ken Whisenhunt made it official who will start Sunday at quarterback for the 1-4 Titans.
Zach Mettenberger, the second-year pro, will get the seventh game of his career on Sunday versus the visiting Atlanta Falcons.
Mariota suffered a grade 2 MCL sprain in last Sunday's loss to Miami, and though the team had hoped he would improve enough during the week to play, Whisenhunt officially named Mettenberger the starter.
"We're gong to list him (Mariota) as out for the game," said Whisenhunt. "It's a combination of missing practice and not quite being there. He's close but it's a combination of those two things so we decided that was the best way to go this week."
As for Mettenberger and the week of practice he's had leading up to this start, Whisenhunt was positive about his new starter.
"Yeah, he's had a good week. It's obvious he's more comfortable in the offense after last year, plus, you know what, he's healthy," said Whisenhunt. "Last year he was still struggling with some of the things with his knee, but he had a good week of work."
Mettenberger spoke with the media following practice and the announcement that he would start.
"I'm excited for the opportunity, but the important thing is that we go out there and try to get a team win," said Mettenberger. "That's ultimately my job as quarterback to win a ball game and that's what I've got to do. Hopefully we can string togehter some good drives and put some points on the board."
Mettenberger was asked about getting the start at a critical time as the team is mired in a four-game losing streak.
"I think we've been putting our best effort out there every week, we've just been shooting ourselves in the foot," said Mettenberger. "If we can just clean up our mistakes, play smart, penalty-free football and keep the chains moving and take advantage of any opportunities to make plays."
"You know really, I just named everything to do to win a football game right there," joked Mettenberger. "But we've got to string together a good clean football game you know to try to get the win."