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VOL. 38 | NO. 44 | Friday, October 31, 2014

Mettenberger watch about all that’s left for 2014

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If the Tennessee Titans were looking for something to divert their attention from bad football, they may have found it – thanks in part to J.J. Watt.

It was Watt’s celebration display following his sack of Titans rookie quarterback Zach Mettenberger that ignited “Selfie Gate” after Sunday’s game.

Watt took a mock “selfie” to celebrate one his two sacks of Mettenberger in the rookie’s first start, and was then asked about it after the game.

That’s when he seemed to take issue with Mettenberger tweeting a photo of himself in the Titans locker room before the game.

Needless to say, telling Mettenberger through the media that this is “not high school” created a bit of firestorm that lasted past Sunday and even spawned another issue when it was learned that the Titans encouraged Mettenberger to shave his beard and cut his hair.

It also helped to take the focus away from another terrible Titans performance that dropped their record to 2-6.

Not all of that misery was Mettenberger’s fault. Far from it.

He wasn’t the one getting holding penalties and allowing Arian Foster to run for 151 yards.

In fact, in the second half, once the game was firmly in the Texans’ grasp, Mettenberger found a rhythm and actually ended the day with decent numbers – 27 of 41 for 299 yards and two touchdowns.

But now that all the hoopla about Twitter pictures and haircuts have faded, exactly where are the Titans with Mettenberger as their quarterback?

As receiver Nate Washington pointed out, “It’s his first NFL start. We’d be fools to tell ourselves he was going to come in and be Dan Marino.”

But Mettenberger did show enough to maybe give Titans fans something they haven’t had in a while – hope.

The rookie admitted there were plenty of rough spots for him on Sunday, but there were enough positives that, perhaps, the Titans and Mettenberger can build on it for the future.

“This is my first game starting, and there’s a lot of things I could improve upon and I am going to improve on, but we’ve just got to keep working,” Mettenberger says.

“Me being a spark is not just about me. There’s 10 other guys on that field that have got to help me along. Obviously, I can’t make a lot of plays on my own running around. Those other 10 guys, protecting, catching balls, catching tough passes for me is really going to help our offense get better.”

Point taken. It can be argued that Jake Locker got a raw deal in the way Ken Whisenhunt handled the change at quarterback last week, but due in part to Locker’s injuries and, in larger part, to the Titans’ numerous shortcomings at nearly every position, the 2014 season is already in the trash can.

So the team is trying to salvage something from the season by finding out if Mettenberger can exceed his sixth-round draft status an become and answer at quarterback.

It’s far too early to get any sort of real read on Mettenberger after one game.

But over the next eight weeks, in another season lost, it will at least keep some people interested.

It’s one of the few compelling storylines on a team that otherwise might be unwatchable.

Terry McCormick covers the Titans for TitanInsider.com and is a blogger for 247 Sports NFL Insider.

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