Zach Mettenberger to start at QB for Titans at Texans

Zach Mettenberger, and not Marcus Mariota, will start for the Titans on Sunday at Houston.

The second-year quarterback will go in place of the rookie for the second straight week. Mariota has a knee injury and was limited this week in practice. 

Mettenberger, who started both games against the Texans last season, is seeking his first win against Houston in three tries. He's a quarterback with whom the Texans are very familiar.

"Did a lot of work on Zach pre-draft," head coach Bill O'Brien said. "He's a big guy, has a strong arm, smart guy, very football smart. He was coached well at LSU by Cam Cameron in his last year so he had a pro background coming into the NFL."

Last season against Houston, Mettenberger passed for a combined 483 yards, and completed 40-of-60 attempts. Defensive end J.J. Watt sacked him three times, and the Texans picked off a pair of the then-rookie's passes. But his ability and willingness to go deep has the Texans' respect.

"Mettenberger has a big strong arm and he wants to use his arm," defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel said. "Not that Mariota doesn't have an arm, but Mettenberger wants to use his arm because he has a big strong arm. I think that's the main difference between the two."

Last Sunday versus Atlanta, Mettenberger completed 22-of-35 passes for 187 yards and a score. The Falcons intercepted a pair of his passes, and beat the Titans 10-7.

Kickoff is set for noon CT at NRG Stadium.


(on preparing for QB Zach Mettenberger) "Did a lot of work on Zach pre-draft. He's a big guy, has a strong arm, smart guy, very football smart. He was coached well at LSU by Cam Cameron in his last year so he had a pro background coming into the NFL. He's got a big arm and he will be a big challenge for us." 

(on how does the Titans' offense change with Mettenberger in the game) "Well, obviously both quarterbacks have different skills sets, they can do different things. I mean you guys will be able to tell that just by watching their games on TV or whatever. There's definitely things they do differently, I am not going to get into all of the details, but it would certainly not be exactly the same with this quarterback in there versus that other quarterback. You'd be able to tell that. I know you would."

(on if it's difficult on preparing for two different quarterbacks who play very differently) "Absolutely. I mean they are both different so you have to prepare for both guys because you are not sure who is going to play. One guy clearly can run, I mean can really run. The other guy is a big drop back passer with a cannon for an arm. Marcus (Mariota) has a good arm too, but they are two totally different quarterbacks. Yeah, that's a good question and it is difficult, but I think we did a good job this week. Our guys practiced hard and it looks like we practiced well and we are going to go out there and play as hard as we can."

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