Mike Mularkey told ESPN’s NFL Insiders that the Titans will be very cautious with Marcus Mariota this preseason according to Adam Schefter:
TEN HC Mike Mularkey told ESPN's NFL Insiders he will be "very cautious" this preseason with Marcus Mariota - goal is week 1, not preseason.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 30, 2017
This really isn’t a surprise. Mariota is the prize asset of this franchise. The #1 job for everyone from John Robinson to Mularkey is to protect Mariota. It’s the reason Mularkey got the job in the first place after Amy Adams Strunk fired Ken Whisenhunt for not doing more to protect Mariota.
If Mariota doesn’t play in the preseason, there would be some concern about timing with receivers and that kind of stuff at the beginning of the season, but that is not nearly as important as Mariota being 100% healthy when week 1 rolls around.
Of course Mariota has been ahead of schedule this whole time, so don’t be surprised if he ends up getting a little bit of playing time in that third preseason game. He will be pushing them to be out there, and there will be no real reason to keep him off the field if he is 100% healthy.