It is getting so you need a scorecard just to keep up with the comings and goings on the Tennessee Titans roster.
Several of the players who were on the Covid-19 reserve list are beginning to trickle back onto the active roster. Fullback Khari Blasingame was the latest to be restored to the active roster on Friday morning. Receivers Adam Humphries and Cameron Batson were cleared to return earlier in the week.
While that is potential good news for the Titans as they face the Houston Texans on Sunday, the short week of having to play Buffalo on Tuesday night has taken its toll in practices. No less than 18 Titans players were listed on the injury report on Wednesday, most being listed as no practice in the virtual setting of what would have taken place had the Titans had an actual practice that day.
On Thursday, all but four of those players – DaQuan Jones, Jadeveon Clowney, Chris Milton and A.J. Brown – were listed as limited participation. The four mentioned above were held out of Thursday’s work. All but Jones, who is battling a foot injury, were present Friday in the open portion of practice. Jones is the only one with an injury designation, listed as questionable.
While at least three of those four are likely to play, Vrabel said it does to look good for players like Corey Davis or MyCole Pruitt, both of whom remain on the Covid/reserve list, to be able to play Sunday.
“We’ll still evaluate those guys. I don’t think they’ll make it, especially with today being Friday. We’ll try to focus on what we have with a short week with the people we have available,” Titans coach Mike Vrabel said of getting any more Covid-stricken players back this week.
Vrabel and the Titans proved quite adept at doing that against the Bills, playing with nine players out due to the Covid-19 outbreak at the Titans facility that pushed the Buffalo game back and moved the Pittsburgh game to Oct. 25.
The result was a convincing 42-16 win over Buffalo. But now the challenge comes to try and keep going with much less time than normal to prepare and a roster that is still not close to being fully restored. As evidenced by the injury report, a number of players are battling bumps and bruises on the short week with two less days of time to recover than normal.
In practices, the Titans have had to resort to having coaches on the scout team during walk-throughs.
“We have to continue to work and show them things that they're going to see in the game, or what we think they're going to see, try to get them as ready as possible under the circumstances of a quick turnaround,” Vrabel said. “We try to structure the schedule that's going to have them ready to go. It changes every week just like it did last week, just like it will this week.”
Still, after making it through the Buffalo game with a win, Vrabel will not accept any excuses leading up to Sundays’ game with the Texans, who are just 1-4 and picked up their first win last week after firing Bill O’Brien in the wake of an 0-4 start.
“That's how the schedule fell. We knew that it's what it was going to be last week, and so now we'll go out here a little bit and work, practice, get going, evaluate how guys feel, and then move on to tomorrow and what we have to do after getting some first, second, third-down work (Thursday) and see if we can't put it all together with some red zone and try to be ready. We're going to have to continue to prepare all the way up until the game,” Vrabel said.
Evans 12th man
Josh Evans, a former Titans defensive lineman from 1995-2001, will be the team’s 12th man via pre-game video. Evans, 48, has been undergoing treatments for cancer at a center in Georgia.