NASHVILLE — The Tennessee Titans have seen Marcus Mariota be a pretty quick healer, and that's what they're hoping for from their quarterback who's dealing with a strained hamstring.
Coach Mike Mularkey said Monday that Mariota is day to day after an MRI showed a strain. Mularkey compared the injury to running back DeMarco Murray's recent hamstring injury, which kept the Pro Bowler out of a couple practices but not a game.
"Again, we're going to take it day by day with Marcus, make sure we're smart with it," Mularkey said.
Mariota, who ran for two touchdowns, aggravated his hamstring in the first half of the Titans' 57-14 loss to the Texans . Mariota currently has a passer rating of 79.8 with three touchdown passes and three interceptions, and he has completed 66 of 110 for 792 yards. Mariota was intercepted twice by the Texans, the second coming after he hurt his hamstring.
"He actually went back in the game after that and threw the interception, as we started the two-minute drill," Mularkey said. "Couldn't step into the throw very well. Came out at halftime warming up like he was going to get ready to play. Just wanted to be, we've got a lot of football still to play and wanted to be smart with him."
Before leaving, Mariota turned in the first game of his NFL career in which he ran for two or more TDs. He ran 34 yards for the third-longest rush of his career, and a 2-yard TD made him the first Titans quarterback to rush for two TDs in a game since Steve McNair on Oct. 5, 2003, at New England. Mariota has a career-high three TDs rushing this season.
The Titans (2-2) visit Miami (1-2) on Sunday, and Mularkey said backup Matt Cassel likely will get as much work in practice as possible. Cassel was 4 of 10 for 21 yards with two interceptions after replacing Mariota.
Mariota and Cassel are the only quarterbacks on the roster, though rookie Tyler Ferguson, an undrafted free agent out of Western Kentucky, is on the practice squad. Mularkey said the Titans are talking about adding a third quarterback to the roster.
This is just the latest hamstring injury for the Titans. Rookie wide receiver Corey Davis missed most of the preseason after hurting a hamstring Aug. 4, and Murray hurt a hamstring Aug. 3, keeping him out of the preseason. Both aggravated their hamstrings in a 37-16 win at Jacksonville on Sept. 17 , and Davis has missed the last two games.
Mularkey said he doesn't expect to have either Davis nor safety Johnathan Cyprien back against Miami. Cyprien hurt a hamstring in the season-opening loss to Oakland and has missed three straight games.
That's why the Titans plan to be very careful with Mariota. Mularkey said they could go up to game time Sunday before making a decision whether Mariota plays.
"We're not going to put him out there if he has any chance of doing further damage," Mularkey said. "We would not do that, and he would let us know that's how he felt, regardless of who the player is."
NOTES: Mularkey said left guard Quinton Spain has a turf toe injury that could keep him out of practice Wednesday.
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