A day after being dismantled in Philadelphia, the Tennessee Titans started picking up the pieces and even making some minor roster adjustments as they try to move forward after Sunday’s terrible performance against the Eagles.
Coach Mike Vrabel did not rule out lineup changes in the aftermath of such an outing, though he admitted that the Titans’ options are limited at places like left tackle where Dennis Daley struggled for much of the game, most noticeably when the score was 14-7 and the Titans were in the red zone. He committed a false start on third-and-1, and then gave up a sack after the penalty, forcing the Titans to settle for a field goal when they potentially could have tied the game with a touchdown. Also, left guard Aaron Brewer had a rough day as well playing beside Daley on the line.
“I think we’ll look at everything. You only have so many guys at this point in time with a lot of guys on injured reserve,” Vrabel said.
In terms of replacing anyone on the offensive line, Vrabel cautioned that there are only so many options available at the present time so late in the year.
“After yesterday there wasn't a solution in any phase. I wouldn't say that we had any solutions in any phase. I'm speaking specifically for Dennis (Daley). You can go through. There are plays where he is doing his job. Then there are plays where we know we can't get beat inside. We're chipping for him, and you can't get beat inside. Critical error on third-and-one,” Vrabel said. “We've had guys jump offsides before but certainly in the red zone things are magnified. … When you play that position, there are some things that are glaring when you get beat. He is going to work hard. Le’Raven (Clark) is going to have a chance to compete. That is who we have on the roster right now.”
Vrabel indicated that outside options might not be better than the players already on the Titans’ 53-man roster or practice squad.
“You have an option of signing guys off of somebody’s practice squad that you could poach. You have an option to sign guys off the street, which I don't know what would be there. We're looking for players that are there,” Vrabel said. “We've signed a lot of guys off other people's practice squad that are playing for us. At some point we have to figure if they're not playing for them, are they going to play for us?”
While the offensive line might not get the overhaul many fans might call for, the wide receiver room may get a minor makeover this week.One glimmer of good news for the Titans is that receiver Racey McMath, counted on to be the team’s deep threat until a hip injury in the preseason finale, could be returning to practice and the roster. McMath has been on injured reserve since before week one and also could help on special teams, though the Titans will have to monitor his workload and not overload him with too many snaps coming off his injury and risk a soft tissue injury.
“Racey has been working hard to try and get back, and we’ll see where those guys are this week and what we can do with them,” Vrabel said Monday.
The Titans are thin at the receiver position currently, and were down to three players in Sunday’s 35-10 drubbing after rookie Treylon Burks was concussed on a hit by Philly’s Marcus Epps on Burks’ TD catch. Burks’ big play capability is needed to help balance the offense and give the passing game a chance at explosive plays.
“He is feeling well, and we will see how he progresses through the week. I was happy to see him after the game, see him when we landed and see him this morning. He is doing well,” Vrabel said of the rookie, who must go through the concussion protocol this week..
After Burks’ injury in the first half, the Titans were forced to play with Robert Woods and Nick Westbrook-Ikhine for the balance of the game. Neither was overly productive, as each player had just one reception for a combined 10 yards.
Vrabel said Monday that some of the blame for their lack of production was on the line not giving Tannehill enough time to throw, and some was on the receivers’ lack of separation.
“It is the same thing. Again, I thought we protected well enough in the first half and not well enough in the second half,” Vrabel said. “There were sometimes where we had some clean pockets. We have to be in spaces. We have to have spacing in zone coverage. Then we have to have route craft in man coverage. It all goes hand-in-hand.”
Kick returner C.J. Board was the only other wide receiver up and active Sunday. Cody Hollister, who was placed on injured reserve Monday, was declared out for the game with a back injury last Friday. Kyle Philips has been on injured reserve for weeks, and is not yet ready to return.
In putting Hollister on injured reserve, the Titans snatched veteran defensive end Tarell Basham off the Dallas Cowboys practice squad and onto Tennessee-s 53-man roster.