Caleb Farley will miss at least the next four weeks. The Titans announced that they have placed the former first-round cornerback on injured reserve.
According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport (on Twitter), Farley suffered a disc injury on Sunday. He’ll undergo more tests to determine the severity of the injury and how much time he’ll ultimately miss. ESPN’s Turron Davenport writes that Farley is feared to have suffered a herniated disk, an injury that would likely require surgery and knock him out for the rest of the 2022 campaign.
It was thanks in part to a back injury that Farley fell down the draft board to the Titans during the 2021 draft. Farley got into six games as a rookie before suffering a torn ACL, and while there was hope that he’d return as a starter in 2022, that hadn’t been the case through the first half of the season. The 24-year-old has started only one of his nine appearances, collecting 10 tackles. Prior to his injury, he hadn’t played a defensive snap since Week 5.
The Titans made a handful of additional moves on Tuesday. The team promoted linebacker Joe Schobert and defensive lineman Larrell Murchison from the practice squad. Schobert has seen time in three games for Tennessee this season, compiling nine tackles and one forced fumble. The former Pro Bowler has seven seasons of his experience, including an 112-tackle campaign in 2021. Murchison, a Titans fifth-round pick in 2020, has collected one tackle in three games this season.
With starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill missing three days of practice this week due to illness, along with an ankle sprain, the Titans are set to give rookie third-round pick Malik Willisthe first start of his career, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network. After extended time leading the offense in the preseason, Willis will face the Texans this Sunday afternoon for his first full game of NFL football.
Willis started all three preseason games for the Titans this August. In his playing time, Willis was able to display the dual-threat ability that made him such an attractive draft pick. In three games, Willis completed 28 of 51 pass attempts for 318 yards, throwing two touchdowns and one interception. On the ground, he was able to add 159 rushing yards and a touchdown on only 14 attempts.
Willis’ regular season action has been extremely limited as Tannehill holds a pretty secure grip on the starting job. He did, though, make his NFL debut late in a Week 2 blowout loss to the Bills. Head coach Mike Vrabel threw Willis right into the fire against one of the league’s best defenses, and it didn’t go great. Willis completed one of four pass attempts for only six yards in garbage time. He was able to get some production out of his legs, gaining 16 yards on four rushes, but lost a fumble in the process.
Willis didn’t get a ton of time with the team’s top receivers in his preseason play but was afforded the opportunity to work with the first team offense all of this week in practice. Unfortunately for Willis, quarterback isn’t the only position affected by injury in Tennessee. The Titans are one of the league’s more battered teams with 13 players currently on injured reserve, six of those being on offense and three of those being his pass catchers. In addition to those 13, the Titans have two players, fullback Tory Carter and pass rusher Rashad Weaver, who are set to sit out this weekend.
Tannehill is listed as questionable and is likely available to play in case of emergency, but the illness may be a blessing in disguise, letting the Titans rest their starting quarterback while allowing his sprained ankle a little extra time to heal. Likely a step between Willis and emergency, the Titans have elevated quarterback Logan Woodside from the practice squad. They will elevate defensive lineman Larrell Murchison for the weekend, as well.
The Titans currently reside atop one of the NFL’s weaker divisions at 4-2. With the second-place Colts undergoing a transition at quarterback, Tennessee should feel fairly comfortable with their division lead, allowing them to make this play at quarterback. Tannehill will get some rest and Willis will get some experience.
Following the 53-man roster cutdown deadline Tuesday, many teams will make slight tweaks to their rosters. In addition to waiver claims, teams can begin constructing their 16-man practice squads today. These Colts, Jaguars, Texans and Titans moves are noted below.
Here are Wednesday’s AFC South transactions, which will continue to be updated throughout the day.
Logan Woodside could also land back on the Titans practice squad after the team opted to keep only two QBs on their active roster (Ryan Tannehill, rookie Malik Willis). Woodside has seen time in 11 games for Tennessee over the past two years, completing one of his three pass attempts (he did break out a sweet 18-yard run, though).
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.
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 Tartand Naquan Jonesare 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 Handand Kevin Strong, and free agent signeeDeMarcus Walker.
One interesting name in this positional competition is Larrell Murchison. A 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.
We’ll keep track of today’s mid- to late-round signings here:
The Texans and third-round pick Jonathan Greenardhave come to terms, per Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link). The former Louisville and Florida linebacker was tangentially involved in some draft-day drama between Houston and the Lions, as the Texans reportedly believed they had a deal in place to send the No. 90 pick to Detroit only to have the Lions back out at the last moment (which the Lions vehemently deny). The Texans kept the pick and selected Greenard, who posted 10 sacks in his final collegiate season and who hopes to become a part of Houston’s pass-rushing rotation. Greenard’s four-year deal is worth about $4.5MM and includes a signing bonus of roughly $900K.
The Colts have signed sixth-round choice Isaiah Rodgers, per Josh Alper of PFT. Rodgers, a UMass product, will battle for a spot on Indianapolis’ cornerback depth chart and on the clubs’ special teams unit. He is set to earn $3.44MM over the course of his four-year deal, which includes a $145K signing bonus.
The Titans inked fifth-round pick Larrell Murchison, per a club announcement. Murchison, an NC State product, made a name for himself as a disruptor on the defensive line after transferring over from a JUCO program.