The last drive notwithstanding, Sunday was a good day for Terrance Mitchell.
Four days after signing with the Tennessee Titans, the veteran cornerback was on the field early and often during an eventual 24-22 win over visiting Las Vegas – the hosts’ first victory of the season.
Mitchell was credited with eight total tackles (one for loss), the second-highest total for a defensive unit that allowed 396 total yards but made the necessary plays to get out with a win in a game the Titans had led by as many as 14 points.
“I think the odds were stacked against him,” second-year cornerback Caleb Farley said. “I think he went out there and competed and did a great job. Everybody went out there and contributed to this win and it really feels good.”
Mitchell, in his ninth year out of Oregon, was signed Wednesday by the Titans off the New England practice squad, where he landed after being one of the Patriots’ final cuts of the preseason. Previously, the Browns’ seventh-round pick in the 2014 draft had spent time with the Cowboys, Bears, Texans and Chiefs as well as Cleveland.
He played in 14 games with Houston last season, starting 13, and played in 68 career games (47 starts) with 248 tackles, seven interceptions and nine forced fumbles entering the ‘22 season.
"It's the life of the NFL. It is tough, though. It really is tough," said Titans veteran safety Kevin Byard, who kept Mitchell coached up on the field. "He was lined up on my side for pretty much the entire game, so I was having to make sure I was communicating with him a lot.
"We run a lot of different defenses. This defense is very complex, different situations call for different defense, a different technique. He's been in this league a while. I know he'll be able to bounce back in. It's just tough. At the end of the day, I am going to make sure I am continuing to talk to him. He's been in the league. He understands how these things go. I'm sure he's happy we got a win too."
Cornerback continues to be a position where Mike Vrabel and the Titans coaching staff are looking for some consistency – thus, the addition of Mitchell.
“We’re just trying to get guys ready to play in a game, trying to get everybody ready on a short turnaround after what happened in Buffalo – just getting back and making sure we decided who we were going to go with and then get them ready with a limited amount of reps,” Vrabel said. “We’ll evaluate this week.
“That’s the approach we took last week, compare him, and we’ll have to see what it looks like this week. This week is a different week.
Trailing 24-16 with under three minutes to play, the Raiders converted on fourth-and-15 from their own 27-yard line as Derek Carr completed a 48-yard pass over Mitchell to Mack Hollins. Nine plays later, Carr found Hollins – with Mitchell covering – for the 9-yard score that had Las Vegas in position to tie the game, before their two-point conversion pass was broken up by linebacker Dylan Cole.
Mitchell was not in the locker room for postgame media availability.
“It could be that it’s really good, and then it’s, really not good,” Vrabel said of the defense. “We have to figure out what that is, if we’re relaxing or what. There’s some opportunities in there where it looks like ‘defense’ and it looks like we know what we’re doing, and other times there’s lapses. We have to eliminate the lapses.
“We’ve got to find some guys that can go out there and cover, and challenge and compete. We’ll keep searching. We’ve got some guys there that we’ll give another look to this week.”