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Titans' Mariani coming on strong in return game

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Recent posts by Arthur Arkush

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Posted Nov. 18, 2011 @ 3:40 p.m. ET
By Arthur Arkush

Coming off a Pro Bowl appearance as a rookie, Titans RS Marc Mariani was pretty much a nonfactor early in the season. It wasn't entirely Mariani's fault, as the new kickoff rules greatly decreased his opportunities to make plays. But Mariani has come on strong of late, particularly as a punt returner, recording his first TD of the season on a 79-yard burst in the Titans' Week 10 rout of the Panthers. Mariani hoped to become a bigger part of the offense in his second season, but he has only five catches in the team's first nine games. However, we hear that is as much about coordinator Chris Palmer electing to stick with his core receivers, which has limited Mariani's chances. Still, the savvy speedster is creeping up on his 2010 averages as both a punt and kickoff returner, and his explosive return in Week 10 was a reminder of what a valuable asset he is to the Titans' special-teams unit.

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