Plenty of preseason plays mean big numbers for, show potential of Mettenberger

The Tennessee Titans like a lot of what they have seen from Zach Mettenberger through the first two preseason games.

Then again, they have seen a lot of the sixth-round draft pick. More, in fact, than most other teams have seen from their rookie quarterbacks to this point.

Aided by the fact that veteran Charlie Whitehurst sustained a hand injury in his only drive of last Friday’s 31-24 loss at New Orleans, Mettenberger had the longest appearance (based on number of plays) of any rookie quarterback thus far. His 43 snaps in that game are more than half of the year’s drafted quarterbacks have played in their first two games combined.

His 59 snaps through the first two games rank third behind first-rounders Teddy Bridgewater and Johnny Manziel.

“That’s all valuable,” coach Ken Whisenhunt said. “That’s a great learning experience for him. From his progression reads to how he handles the protection checks to how he does a lot of different things, that’s great experience. He made some plays, obviously he had some turnovers. We all make mistakes, and I think the best thing to do is try to learn from those, so (Friday’s game) was a great experience from that standpoint.”

A game-by-game look at the number of snaps each of the 14 quarterbacks drafted this year have played thus far in the preseason:

Teddy Bridgewater, Minnesota (first round) 37-34 – 71
Johnny Manziel, Cleveland (first round) 25-39 – 64
Zach Mettenberger, Tennessee (sixth round) 16-43 – 59
Jimmy Garoppolo, New England (second round) 27-30 – 57
Derek Carr, Oakland (second round) 25-31 – 56
Blake Bortles, Jacksonville (first round) 26-29 – 55
Garrett Gilbert, St. Louis (sixth round) 29-19 – 48
Logan Thomas, Arizona (fourth round) 42-0 – 42
Tom Savage, Houston (fourth round) 6-19 – 25
Aaron Murray, Kansas City (fifth round) 5-17 – 22
David Fales, Chicago (sixth round) 22-0 – 22
Keith Wenning, Baltimore (sixth round) 5-15 – 20
Tajh Boyd, N.Y. Jets (sixth round) 0-10 – 10
A.J. McCarron, Cincinnati (fifth round) 0-0 – 0

Mettenberger is third among all quarterbacks (rookies and veterans) with 356 passing yards and is only one of nine with multiple touchdown passes. Likewise, his 105.7 quarterback rating is third overall, and his average of 11.1 yards is by far the league’s best, more than a full yard better than second place Blake Bortles, the first quarterback taken in this year’s draft and the only other rookie among the top 15 in that category.

On the down side, he also is one of only three quarterbacks with multiple interceptions in the preseason and he has lost one fumble each game.

“You can tell that we have a chance with Zach,” Whisenhunt said. “He did a lot of good things [Friday]. There are a couple of things that we’ve got to get cleaned up. The one interception is the only one that he wishes that he would have back.

“… He is a young guy. There is a lot to learn from situations like this. I think that it was very valuable tonight to get him so much playing time. That helps. He is doing a lot of good things, but he is making a lot of rookie mistakes. We just need to keep working with him.”