Mariani makes grabs against Falcons
August 26, 2014
Despite not seeing as much of the field as he has in the first two preseason games, Tennessee Titans’ wide receiver and former Havre Blue Pony Marc Mariani still made a big impact on week three of the NFL preseason.
Mariani made two key catches on the Titans’ game-winning drive in the fourth quarter of Saturday night’s preseason game against the Atlanta Falcons at the Georgia Dome.
Tennessee and Atlanta were knotted up at 17-17 midway through the fourth quarter when rookie Titans’ quarterback Zach Mettenberger started to march the Titans on a long drive. Mariani caught an 11-yard pass early in the drive, then hauled in a 13-yarder for a key first down. That catch helped set up rookie Bishop Sankey’s game-winning touchdown run, as the Titans left Atlanta with a 24-17 win.
Mariani’s 24 receiving yards were crucial on a night when the Titans’ starters played into the second half, and Tennessee threw the ball for nearly 400 yards. And both catches were key for the former Montana Grizzly, who’s in a training camp dogfight to earn a roster spot amongst a talented group of Titans’ receivers.
On the other side of the coin, Mariani, who has taken nearly all the punt and kickoff return reps this preseason, didn’t see those chances come his way Saturday night. Tennessee head coach Ken Whisenhunt planned to give veterans Leon Washington and Dexter McCluster their first game reps at returns in the preseason, while Khalid Wooten also took two returns against the Falcons.
Mariani will likely get plenty of opportunities in the final preseason game of the year, which will be Saturday night in Nashville as the Titans take on the Minnesota Vikings. The fourth preseason game of the NFL is usually reserved for the backups and players who are in head-to-head battles for roster spots, which Mariani clearly is in both the return game and at wide receiver.
The Titans waived 12 players Monday, and will make several more cuts, including next Sunday, when the final 53-man roster will be announced.
Tennessee’s game with Minnesota is slated for 6 p.m. Saturday night at LP Field in Nashville.