The Titans will have their offensive line intact on Sunday against the Eagles. Jack Conklin is returning after missing the first three games, and the third-year right tackle starter appears to be glad his rehab took this careful route from the ACL tear that required a full offseason and some regular-season time to overcome. It looks like the Titans’ decision to keep Conklin off their PUP list was critical, since a PUP designation would’ve shelved him for the season’s first six weeks.
“I honestly feel better than I’ve ever felt playing,” Conklin said, via Erik Bacharach of The Tennesseean. “I feel faster, I feel quicker, and I’m honestly a lot stronger than I’ve ever been playing.”
Conklin and Taylor Lewan haven’t played in a full game together since the Titans’ wild card win over the Chiefs. Lewan suffered a concussion earlier this season but is now back at his left tackle spot. Both players are signed through at least 2019, although it’s a near-lock the Titans will pick up Conklin’s fifth-year option next May.
Here’s how some other South-division teams look going into their Week 4 games:
- Dirk Koetter wanted Buccaneers offensive coordinator Todd Monken to focus more on the offense as a whole rather than having to split time between OC duties and wide receivers coach as he previously did. It was Koetter’s decision to hire a wideouts coach, Skyler Fulton, Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times notes. Monken then took over devising the Bucs’ practice scripts before calling plays in the preseason, per Stroud, who adds Koetter made a concerted effort to accelerate Bucs camp practices in order to squeeze in more work. Stroud argues it was a smart decision for the Bucs to stick with Koetter, a chopping-block candidate after 2017’s disappointment, than bringing back Jon Gruden.
- The risk Le’Veon Bell will wear down as his late-20s seasons commence should induce the Colts to stay away from the soon-to-be 27-yard-old running back in free agency, at least at the price he seeks, Nat Newell of the Indianapolis Star writes. Chris Ballard‘s repeated mantra reiterations of building through the draft makes it unlikely the Colts will trade for Bell, Newell adds. The Colts are projected to possess a staggering (and league-most) $126MM in cap space in 2019. They could more than afford Bell and do not have much in the way of proven ball-carrying talent. But the risk of not getting value from this unique free agent would make an investment risky.
- Eric Reid‘s Panthers contract maxes out at $2MM and includes $1MM in base salary. NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero has numbers for the gray area in between, tweeting the sixth-year safety could earn up to $610K through incentives. Wage bumps for playing time and a Pro Bowl nod exist in this deal. Reid hasn’t made the Pro Bowl since 2014. Carolina’s on a bye this week, giving Reid additional time to acclimate to his new team’s defensive scheme.
- Leonard Fournette sent and deleted a tweet that indicated he will be back for the Jaguars‘ Week 4 game against the Jets, Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk notes. The second-year running back included the phrase “happy to be back” in his since-deleted tweet, providing a good sign he’s ready to return from the hamstring malady that cost him two games (and perhaps a decent sign the Jags don’t want the Jets knowing this a day in advance). The Jags went 1-1 without their offensive centerpiece.