Titans vs. Cardinals: Marc Mariani Suffers Nasty Injury in 1st Quarter

Chad MintonCorrespondent IAugust 23, 2012

NASHVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 23: Marc Mariani #83 of the Tennessee Titans returns a kick against the Houston Texans at LP Field on October 23, 2011 in Nashville, Tennessee. The Texans defeated the Titans 41-7. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

The positive vibes from Jake Locker's 10-yard touchdown connection with Kendall Wright were short lived after Marc Mariani broke his leg while being tackled on a punt return, according to the Associated Press.

Mariani was carted off the field after a lengthy delay that ended with head coach Mike Munchak shaking his head as he went back to sideline.

This drastically changes what the Titans will be able to do in the passing game, even more so if Kenny Britt misses an extended amount of time.

Mariani was having a very promising preseason over his first two games with four receptions for 68 yards.

The main thing that Mariani brought to the passing game was his ability to make defenders miss in the slot.

With essentially a rookie quarterback taking over in Jake Locker, a shifty guy in the slot figured to do wonders for Locker this season.

Perhaps the bigger concern will be who steps up in the return game.

Wright has been rumored to get touches in the return game, and Darius Reynaud also figures to be a likely replacement with his blazing speed.

Since Wright has such an important role as a receiver, it seems unlikely that the coaching staff would want to subject him  to that many hits unless they have nowhere else to turn.

Reynaud looks the part and took the next punt return after Mariani had left the game with the Titans still leading 7-0.

It has been a big question as to how the Titans would be able to find room for the very dynamic Reynaud who is listed as a running back.

With this latest development, it looks likely that Reynaud will have a role on this team in 2012 after Mariani's injury, which will probably sideline him for a long length of time.