The Titans will be without two of their five outside linebackers on Sunday as Cameron Wake and Sharif Finch have both been ruled out for the matchup with the Broncos.
Finch and Wake both OUT.— Paul Kuharsky (@PaulKuharskyNFL) October 11, 2019
Wake has been dealing with a hamstring issue since leaving the Falcons game early a couple weeks ago. He hasn’t practiced since, though he has been spotted on a stationary bike at times. No word on when he might be back in action.
Finch came out of the Buffalo game early with a shoulder injury and was held out of practice all week. He missed a week with a shoulder injury last year as well. It’s unclear how long he might be out as well.
Earlier in the week I had — incorrectly — assumed that the Titans adding two running backs to the 53-man roster and no outside linebackers was a good sign that one of these two guys would play. The team is reportedly not going to elevate undrafted rookie OLB Derick Roberson from the practice squad for extra depth in this game, choosing instead to stick with just three outside linebackers against the Broncos.
Roberson won’t get elevated. #Titans feel OK about OLB even without Wake and Finch.— Paul Kuharsky (@PaulKuharskyNFL) October 12, 2019
Harold Landry and Reggie Gilbert figure to get the start with Kamalei Correa getting plenty of reps off the bench. All three are in for a lot of snaps and there is at least a chance that we see Rashaan Evans get a few looks out there as well if needed.
Landry leads the Titans with 4 sacks on the season, tied for 13th in the NFL through five weeks. Gilbert — the player Jon Robinson traded a conditional 7th round pick to acquire just before the end of preseason — got his first sack as a Titan during last week’s game against the Bills and has been generally pretty impressive the last couple weeks.
The Titans will certainly miss Wake, who had impressed in limited snaps over the first three weeks of the season, but the Broncos have their own injury issues in this matchup. High priced free agent addition Ja’Wuan James has missed the last four weeks with a knee injury. Replacing him at right tackle has been backup Elijah Wilkinson, who is tied for the NFL lead in sacks allowed with 6 through five weeks according to PFF. James is officially listed as questionable after being a limited participant in practice all week. If he can’t go again, that will be a plus matchup for the Titans, even with Gilbert as the starter.
Other Injury Notes
Besides Wake and Finch, the only other Titans carrying an injury designation for this game are special teamer Chris Milton (calf) and newly acquired running back Rod Smith (groin). Milton has been an asset to the Titans excellent kick coverage units so missing him would hurt there a little bit, but neither of those players are expected to get offensive or defensive snaps.
Offensive lineman Kevin Pamphile appears to be available for selection on the active roster for the first time this year. Originally expected to start the season as the Titans starter at right guard, Pamphile seems unlikely to replace rookie Nate Davis in the starting lineup. Davis has mostly held his own over the past two weeks and the idea of shuffling the offensive line yet again seems likely to be more harmful than helpful at this point. The Titans need five starters to start building some chemistry up front. Instead, I’d expect Pamphile to potentially replace Jamil Douglas as one of the active backups on Sunday.
Delanie Walker, who missed practice on Wednesday and is officially listed with a knee injury, practiced in full on Thursday and Friday and is cleared to play for Sunday. Walker’s snaps have been somewhat limited so far this year as the Titans seem intent on keeping the 35-year old tight end fresh and asking Jonnu Smith and MyCole Pruitt to handle some of the dirty work blocking in the run game.
The Broncos will be without cornerback Bryce Callahan once again. Another free agent addition this offseason, Callahan has yet to suit up for a regular season game due to a pesky foot injury. He was expected to be a starter heading into this year and replacing him has been a challenge for the Denver defense. Rookie Isaac Yiadom got the first shot, but struggled mightily. He was replaced by De’Vante Bausby, but Bausby injured his neck last week and has landed on injured reserve. Instead, if Yiadom can’t get the job done, the Broncos only option will be the sixth corner on the depth chart, Davontae Harris. This is a problem situation for Denver across from the always outstanding Chris Harris.
Another corner, former Patriots draft pick Duke Dawson, has also popped up on the injury report with a foot issue this week. He’s officially listed as questionable. If he can’t go, things will be pretty dire in the Broncos secondary.