Da’Shawn Hand

Latest On Titans’ DL Competition

The Titans’ defensive line played a significant role in the unit’s 2021 success, and the top of the depth chart is relatively settled heading into this season. One starting spot is up for grabs, though, and the team has a number of depth options to consider during training camp. 

Terry McCormick of TitansInsider.com notes that Jeffery Simmons is set to once again anchor the team’s d-line. He enjoyed a breakout campaign in 2021 with 8.5 sacks, earning him a Pro Bowl nod and Second-Team All-Pro honors. The Mississippi State product will be 25 this season, making him a prime candidate for the team to make a long-term commitment to sometime in the near future.

Another first-team role will belong to Denico Autry. The veteran’s first year in Tennessee was one of the most productive of his career. He matched a personal best with nine sacks and set a new mark with 18 QB hits, leading to optimism for the remaining two seasons of the deal he signed with the Titans last offseason. Who will join Simmons and Autry as a starter remains to be seen, though.

McCormick writes that former UDFAs Teair Tart and Naquan Jones are the likeliest candidates for that spot. Tart registered 10 starts in 2021, seeing a defensive snap share of nearly 50% along the way. Jones, meanwhile, offered more pass-rushing potential with 2.5 sacks as a rookie; he is also a player the Titans “are high on” to take a step forward in 2022. The rest of the position group is set to be rounded out by some combination of former Lions Da’Shawn Hand and Kevin Strong, and free agent signee DeMarcus Walker.

One interesting name in this positional competition is Larrell MurchisonA 2020 fifth-rounder, the NC State alum has yet to claim a full-time starting role, and has totalled just 13 tackles so far in the NFL. Considering the talent and depth ahead of him, McCormick points out that Murchison’s roster spot could be “in jeopardy.” How the depth chart shakes out will depend on his training camp performance, and those of several intriguing options the Titans have at the position.

Minor NFL Transactions: 2/14/22

Today’s minor moves:

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Houston Texans

Tennessee Titans

Per ESPN’s Field Yates (on Twitter), the Broncos (with Bassey and Waitman), Lions (with Hughes), and Texans (with Keke) placed their respective claims earlier in their offseasons. Since these players were on playoff teams, they weren’t immediately assigned. Instead, the teams needed to wait for the league year to switch over to 2022, allowing the players to join their new squads.

Latest On Titans’ Backfield Situation

Although a Derrick Henry return in Week 18 surfaced as a possibility weeks ago, the Titans will remain cautious with the two-time reigning rushing champion.

Tennessee will not activate Henry from IR on Saturday, keeping him shelved until the playoffs. The Titans designated Henry for return this week, giving them options moving forward. Henry’s ramp-up period can last up until before the AFC championship game, should the Titans’ season extend that far. But the team has long been preparing to have its top weapon ready to go before that point.

Henry has been out since suffering a Jones fracture in his foot in Week 8. The Titans initially struggled to pick up the pieces, and they moved on from Adrian Peterson fairly quickly. However, the AFC South champs have since seen D’Onta Foreman — also a midseason pickup following Henry’s injury — begin to establish himself as a starter. Foreman has notched three 100-yard games over his past five. Should Henry indeed return to action in the playoffs, Foreman would stand to be a key off-the-bench performer.

For now, however, the Titans are reshuffling their backfield. One of the early candidates to replace Henry, Jeremy McNichols, is no longer on the roster. The Titans waived the veteran backup Saturday and promoted Jordan Wilkins from their practice squad. A former Colts fifth-round pick, Wilkins caught on with the Titans after a midseason Indianapolis exit. He joins Dontrell Hilliard alongside Foreman on Tennessee’s active roster.

Wilkins topped 5.5 yards per carry in each of his first two seasons, playing behind Marlon Mack, and eclipsed 300 rushing yards in each of his first three. Now rostering the NFL’s rushing leader in Jonathan Taylor, the Colts dropped Wilkins this season. A former Buccaneers fifth-round pick who also spent time with the Colts, McNichols has been with the Titans for the past two seasons. He is averaging just 3.8 yards per carry this year, on 41 totes, and saw Foreman take over the backfield down the stretch.

The Titans also promoted defensive linemen Da’Shawn Hand and Kevin Strong on Saturday. The team has a chance to clinch home-field advantage for the first time since 2008 Sunday. A win over the Texans would secure Tennessee the AFC’s No. 1 seed. This would obviously be beneficial for both the Titans and Henry. The Chiefs would recapture the conference’s top slot with a win over the Broncos today and a subsequent Titans loss.

NFL Practice Squad Updates: 12/31/21

Today’s taxi squad moves:

Denver Broncos

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

New Orleans Saints

  • Signed: C Cohl Cabral

Minor NFL Transactions:  11/30/21

Today’s minor moves:

Arizona Cardinals

Detroit Lions

  • Waived/Injured: DL Da’Shawn Hand

Green Bay Packers

Los Angeles Chargers

New York Giants

  • Signed (off Bills practice squad): QB Jake Fromm

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

Pittsburgh Steelers

Minor NFL Transactions: 10/30/21

Here is the Week 8 Saturday minor move blitz:

Atlanta Falcons

Buffalo Bills

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

Cincinnati Bengals

Cleveland Browns

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Houston Texans

Los Angeles Rams

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

New York Jets 

Philadelphia Eagles

Pittsburgh Steelers

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

Washington Football Team

Lions Re-Sign TE Darren Fells, Place QB Tim Boyle On IR

As expected, the Lions will begin their season without backup quarterback Tim Boyle. A thumb injury will sideline him into October, with the team placing the former Packers reserve on IR Thursday.

The team also stashed defensive lineman Da’Shawn Hand on IR. Players placed on IR after roster cutdown day are eligible to return after three games. This is Hand’s fourth IR stay in four seasons.

Detroit also brought back one of its offseason additions, re-signing tight end Darren Fells a day after releasing him. Fells made it through to the Lions’ 53-man roster after cut day but was dropped on Wednesday. The former college hoops standout-turned-red zone target signed with the Lions in May.

Fells joins T.J. Hockenson as the only tight ends on Detroit’s active roster. This will be Fells’ age-35 season and second with Detroit. He was on the 2017 Lions before relocating to Cleveland and then Houston. With the Texans, Fells caught 11 touchdown passes over the past two years.

Boyle’s injury leaves David Blough as the only QB behind Jared Goff on the Lions’ active roster. This marks Blough’s third year with the team.

Additionally, the Lions also re-signed safety Dean Marlowe on Thursday. A Bills contributor from 2018-20, Marlowe joined Fells in being dropped from the roster for procedural purposes Wednesday.

Minor NFL Transactions: 12/19/20

Here are Saturday’s minor moves:

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Chicago Bears

Cleveland Browns

Dallas Cowboys

Detroit Lions

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Rams

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Tennessee Titans

Washington Football Team

Minor NFL Transactions: 12/18/18

Here are Tuesday’s minor moves:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Buffalo Bills

Cincinnati Bengals

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Miami Dolphins

New York Giants

New York Jets

  • Signed off Patriots’ practice squad: T Eric Smith

Oakland Raiders

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Washington Redskins

Lions Sign Frank Ragnow, 2 Others

Add Frank Ragnow to the list of first-round picks who have signed their rookie deals. The Lions came to terms with their top draft choice, and this draft’s first center chosen, on Friday. Here’s the full list of Friday agreements heading into Detroit’s rookie minicamp:

Ragnow figures to immediately compete for a starting job in the Motor City. The Lions allowed starting center Travis Swanson to defect to the Jets, but they added ex-Jets starting snapper Wesley Johnson in free agency. Detroit was considering moving Graham Glasgow from guard to center, but the Ragnow addition may keep him at guard, where he fared well last season.

The former Razorback was a consensus All-American last season, and Pro Football Focus twice bestowed first-team All-American honors on Ragnow — in both his junior and senior slates. The draft slot system will place Ragnow’s rookie deal at $11.8MM over the customary four years, with an approximate $6.6MM signing bonus, per Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press (Twitter link).

This leaves only third-round pick Tracey Walker, a safety out of Louisiana-Lafayette, as Detroit’s only unsigned pick.