Reports: Marcus Mariota won't play tonight for Titans vs Colts

Terry McCormick

Multiple reports indicate that Marcus Mariota will not start for the Tennessee Titans in tonight’s win-and-in game to reach the playoffs against the Indianapolis Colts.
If those reports are accurate, it means that journeyman Blaine Gabbert will get the start for the Titans on Sunday Night Football. Titans officials and sources did not immediately respond to the report that Mariota would not play tonight.
Mariota was limited in practice on Thursday and Friday after not practicing on Wednesday after suffering a stinger that caused numbness in his throwing arm in last Saturday’s win over the Washington Redskins.
Gabbert came off the bench just before halftime and helped to rally the Titans to the win by completing 7 of 11 passes for 101 yards and a touchdown.
The significance of Mariota’s injury was probably tipped off when the Titans re-signed Austin Davis as a third QB this week.
Mariota has been down this road before, having been knocked out of games three times this season with injuries. He missed the Titans home opener against Houston with the initial injury and did not start the following week against Jacksonville, but came off the bench to lead the Titans to a win after Gabbert suffered a concussion.
According to a report from Chris Mortensen of ESPN, Mariota will test his arm in pre-game warmups before any official decision is made. But Mortensen went on to say that an independent spine specialist said that Mariota risks further damage that could hinder his ability to throw the football beyond this weekend.
Earlier in the week, Titans coach Mike Vrabel laid out three criteria for an injured player to be able to play. One of those criteria was that the player did not risk further injury to himself. The other two were that the player be able to execute the game plan and be able to protect himself.
The Titans’ playoff hopes are now tied to Gabbert, who is 2-0 as a starter this season and has completed 43 of 72 passes for 461 yards this season with three touchdown passes and two interceptions.
The Titans will also be without defensive tackle Jurrell Casey (knee) and linebacker Brian Orakpo (elbow), and lost cornerback Logan Ryan two weeks ago to a broken leg.

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