For the second straight week, the Tennessee Titans had just three outside linbackers active for the game.
It means that Harold Landry, who played virtually every defensive snap, and Jadeveon Clowney, who played 62 out of 75 snaps Sunday against Jacksonville, could be getting tired and overworked a bit.
Coach Mike Vrabelwas asked Monday about that possibility, especially given that Kamalei Correa, the third outside linebacker, had just 12 snaps. Vic Beasley and Derick Roberson, both battling knee injuries, were scratched from the game.
“We’re gonna just try to get the guys in there. I don’t know how many snaps are too much or too little. We all have a job to do. Their job is to be ready to play every play. And if they don’t, then they’ll be ready to play whenever they get back” Vrabel said. “I don’t really know how to gauge that. If they’re healthy, then they’ll play. If they’re not asking for a break, we determine that each and every week how the rotation goes on who we have available.”
In the off-season outside linebackers coach Shane Bowen, who helps Vrabel coordinate the defense, had said Landry wore down in 2019 from playing too many snaps. Clowney, signed just a week before the start of the season, played 44 snaps in the opener at Denver and increased that Sunday and looked tired at times after a fast start in both games.
Cameron Batson, who was one of the two players the Titans elevated from the practice squad for Sunday’s game, and contributed an 11-yard run on a jet sweep play call and also caught two passes for 26 yards.
“Cam is a player that took advantage of his opportunities. We handed it to him, and he also had some good catches,” Vrabel said Monday. “He was prepared and was able to step in there and do a couple of things that really helped us win. That’s always good. He’s battled some injuries in the past with us and hasn’t really taken off because of those injuries. Some of those are no fault of his own, but it’s good to see him taking advantage and being active and getting some snaps for us.”
Speaking of stepping in and performing, veteran Tye Smith was in at cornerback on the Titans last defensive series that ended with Harold Landry’s interception of a tipped Gardner Minshew pass that essentially ended the game.
Smith and Malcolm Butler were on the outside and rookie Kristian Fulton was manning the nickelback position. Johnathan Joseph was out of the game with a leg injury, and rookie Chris Jackson was in the nickel spot for most of the game, until the end when Smith came in shifting Fulton to the slot.
Vrabel indicated that Jackson may have had a health issue as well.
“Those were the guys that were available. You get into these games and everybody has to be ready to go,” Vrabel said “It was good to see Tye step up in there and be able to finish the game for us and help us in that situation.”
The Titans have added three veterans to their practice squad, signing veteran defensive backs Breon Borders and Greg Mabin and also signing receiver Chester Rogers.
To make room, the Titans have waived defensive lineman Kobe Smith and defensive backs Maurice Smith and Picasso Nelson, who were just signed last week.
Rogers (6-0, 184) played in 53 games, including 22 starts, in a four-year career with the Indianapolis Colts. He has 111 receptions for 1,221 yards and five touchdowns in his career as well as a 9.2-yard punt return average during his career. Rogers caught 53 passes in 2018 for the Colts.
Borders (6-0, 189) has played in 13 NFL games and has spent time with Oakland, Buffalo, Houston, Jacksonville, Washington and Pittsburgh. Last year, he played 11 games for the Jaguars with seven tackles and one fumble recovery.
Mabin (6-2, 200) has played in 29 NFL games over a three-year NFL career with Tampa Bay, Buffalo, San Francisco and Cincinnati. He has registered 13 tackles, three passes defensed, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery.