TEN­NESSEE

USA TODAY Sports Weekly - - SPORTS -

Sto­ry­line of the week

Mar­i­ota still seeks next step: QB Mar­cus Mar­i­ota was ex­pected to take a big step for­ward un­der new Ti­tans of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Matt LaFleur. While the flashes of ex­cel­lence have been there in the pre­sea­son, bouts of in­con­sis­tency con­tinue to arise, caus­ing the Ti­tans’ fran­chise quar­ter­back to look like some­thing less than a star. Take Ten­nessee’s 16-6 loss to the Steel­ers in Week 3. Mar­i­ota com­pleted five of his eight throws but for 43 yards, and he capped his out­ing with an ill-ad­vised in­ter­cep­tion. The 37.0 passer rat­ing was his worst of the pre­sea­son. Mar­i­ota might be ready to make the leap into the up­per ech­e­lon of NFL quar­ter­backs, but he needs to show more con­sis­tency.

Rookie watch

Un­drafted LB Robert Spil­lane is mak­ing him­self im­pos­si­ble to ig­nore this pre­sea­son. In three games the Cen­tral Michi­gan prod­uct has racked up 19 to­tal tack­les, a sack, an in­ter­cep­tion and a pass breakup.

Kyle Mad­son, Ti­tans Wire

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