Marcus Mariota is on the mend three weeks after having a metal plate implanted on his broken fibula.
"I spoke with Marcus this afternoon," Mularkey said, via The Tennessean. "He actually had an appointment, and they did a good thorough checkup on him. He's on track. He's doing great. He should be back when we get this thing rolling. I can't tell you exact times of when he's going to practice, but he should be ready for the season, which is what we want him for. But he's doing good. He's going to be a very good patient, if I have anything to do with it."
Mariota was carted off the field during a crushing Christmas Eve loss, ending his season and thwarting a Titans playoff push.
Rehab requires the quarterback to keep weight off his leg for about two months after surgery. The next phase of his recovery should begin near the end of February or early March. The expected timetable for a recovery is four to five months, meaning the third-year pro could be available for OTAs in May or June. Expect the Titans to play it safe with their franchise quarterback.
In his sophomore season Mariota displayed the type of leap we expected. Though he had some rough outings, his improved deep-ball accuracy was a harbinger for big days. With another offseason of development, Mariota should skyrocket into the upper third of signal-callers.
Mularkey likened Mariota's rise to MVP candidate Matt Ryan, whom he coached from 2008-2011.
"I do. I see growth. I saw Matt grow. I had him as a rookie," Mularkey said. "I was around here, I wasn't the head coach when Marcus was first drafted here, but I've seen growth in Marcus and maturity and leadership, and just watching him want to be great, that's a lot of what Matt was. "And again, this is probably about as well as Matt, as I've ever seen him play, but Marcus is very similar in the way he really prepares every week, just like Matt."
If the injury doesn't curtail Mariota's improvement, the Titans will be a contender to swipe the AFC South crown for the first time since 2008.