Marcus Mariota active in much-anticipated game return; Titans’ offense struggles

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Updated: August 12, 2017

11:48 PM ET

Mike Mularkey wanted his franchise quarterback to get his blood flowing from Play 1 of the Tennessee Titans’ preseason opener Saturday. So he called for Marcus Mariota to use his legs and roll out to his right on play-action. Mariota outraced charging New York Jets defensive lineman Muhammad Wilkerson to the right sideline, then fired a 15-yard bullet pass to Rishard Matthews for a completion.

And with that, Mariota was officially back. In his first game since suffering a broken right leg last Christmas Eve, Mariota did a little bit of everything to knock the cobwebs off Saturday. He used his legs to scramble and move around the pocket, and he took his first hit, bouncing back up quickly.

“It felt great,” Mariota told the Titans’ team website about his return. “A lot of hard work was put into it, and I’m very blessed for the opportunity. It was just a lot of fun, and I enjoyed the opportunity I had.”

Added Mularkey on Mariota’s performance: “I was pretty pleased with him.”

Lineup shakeup: Second-year nose tackle Antwaun Woods got the start Saturday, a tribute to his strong training camp performance. It’s too early to read much into the decision, given Sylvester Williams‘ status as the starter, but Woods is in a great spot to make the roster. Woods got a lot of reps versus the Jets.

Missing Murray: Derrick Henry has looked strong throughout training camp, but Saturday was the first time in a while it appeared the Titans missed DeMarco Murray. The veteran back sat out while recovering from his hamstring injury and the run game couldn’t get much going. Henry had eight carries for 29 yards.

Article source: http://www.espn.com/blog/tennessee-titans/post/_/id/22823/marcus-mariota-active-in-much-anticipated-game-return-titans-offense-struggles