Kevin Strong

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: 1/8/22

Here are Saturday’s minor moves:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

Cincinnati Bengals

Cleveland Browns

Dallas Cowboys

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Chargers

Los Angeles Rams

Minnesota Vikings

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

Pittsburgh Steelers

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

Washington Football Team

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.

Minor NFL Transactions: 12/23/21

Here are Thursday’s minor moves:

Chicago Bears

  • Signed to active roster: LB Sam Kamara

Houston Texans 

New York Jets

  • Signed off 49ers’ practice squad: S Kai Nacua

Philadelphia Eagles

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

  • Designated for return: OL Jamarco Jones

Tennessee Titans

Washington Football Team

Titans Activate LB Bud Dupree From IR

The Titans defense will be getting some reinforcement. The team activated linebacker Bud Dupree from injured reserve today. The team also placed fullback Tory Carter on injured reserve.

Dupree has missed the last three games with an abdominal injury. Although it was a less serious malady that the ACL tear that capped his 2020 season, it was frustrating nonetheless. Dupree, who tallied 19.5 sacks between 2019 and 2020, has collected just seven stops and one sack through seven games for the Titans this year. Still, he should provide a significant boost to a defense that’s currently fighting for playoff positioning, especially when he gets an opportunity to play against his former team, the Steelers, tomorrow.

Carter is an undrafted rookie out of LSU, but he’s managed to see time in eight games (two starts) this season. The majority of his snaps have come on special teams, although he did see time in a season-high 20 offensive snaps during the Titans’ Week 12 loss to the Patriots.

As Tennessee gets ready for their showdown with the Steelers tomorrow, the team made some additional moves to their roster. The team promoted wideout Cody Hollister, offensive lineman Daniel Munyer, and defensive lineman Kevin Strong from their practice squad.

Minor NFL Transactions: 12/11/21

Here is how teams finalized their Week 14 rosters:

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Buffalo Bills

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

Cincinnati Bengals

Cleveland Browns

Dallas Cowboys

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Houston Texans

Kansas City Chiefs

Los Angeles Chargers

Miami Dolphins

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

New York Jets

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Tennessee Titans

Washington Football Team

Titans Place WR A.J. Brown On IR

The Titans are down another skill player. The team announced that they’ve placed wideout A.J. Brown on injured reserve.

Having suffered a chest injury, Brown did not practice all week and had already been ruled out for tomorrow’s showdown against the Patriots. Fortunately, the Titans and Ryan Tannehill should have their top receiver back before the end of the season. Per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport (on Twitter), the injury isn’t a season-ender and Brown is expected to be back in December. The earliest that Brown could come back is Week 16 against the 49ers, although that TNF game comes on a short week.

The offense the Titans deploy in Week 12 will not look especially similar to the one it hopes to trot out come January. Tennessee already has Derrick Henry and Julio Jones on IR. The team also lost fill-in wideout Marcus Johnson for the season last week. Wideout Golden Tate could have been one candidate to fill one of those roster spots, but the veteran wasn’t elevated for tomorrow’s contest.

Temporarily, Tannehill will be throwing to the likes of Nick Westbrook-Ikhine and Chester Rogers. The team also has a fully stocked tight ends depth chart with Geoff Swaim, Anthony Firkser, and MyCole Pruitt.

The Titans have also elevated four players from the practice squad: wideout Cody Hollister, defensive back Breon Borders, quarterback Kevin Hogan, and defensive lineman Kevin Strong. Fullback Khari Blasingame has also been activated from injured reserve.

NFL Practice Squad Updates: 11/23/21

Today’s taxi squad moves:

Chicago Bears

Denver Broncos

Green Bay Packers

New England Patriots

  • Signed: P Corliss Waltman

New Orleans Saints

Pittsburgh Steelers

Tennessee Titans

Washington Football Team

  • Signed: C Tyler Gauthier
  • Released: LB Anthony Hines, WR Damion Willis

Minor NFL Transactions: 11/20/21

We’ll keep track of today’s stream of minor moves right here:

Arizona Cardinals

Baltimore Ravens

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

Cincinnati Bengals

Cleveland Browns

Dallas Cowboys

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

Kansas City Chiefs

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Chargers

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

New Orleans Saints

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

Pittsburgh Steelers

Seattle Seahawks

  • Promoted: CB Gavin Heslop

Tennessee Titans

Minor NFL Transactions: 10/13/21

Here are Wednesday’s minor moves, with the list being updated throughout the day:

Arizona Cardinals

Baltimore Ravens

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

Cincinnati Bengals

Dallas Cowboys

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

New England Patriots

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

Washington Football Team