The Titans were a pretty healthy football team coming off their Week 11 bye, but one major injury suffered in the 42-20 win over the Jaguars is going to have a last effect. The team announced this afternoon that they are placing edge rusher Cameron Wake on injured reserve, ending his 2019 season.
Wake went down with just over three minutes left in the game, falling while trying to turn the corner on an edge rush. It’s hard to see what exactly happened on the play — there are bodies in the way on every angle I’ve seen — but Wake and Titans trainers were definitely looking at his right knee when he was down after the play.
I don’t like to speculate about injuries, but a knee that puts a guy on IR with five weeks to go is usually a ligament issue. You just hope that it’s a sprain and not a tear.
In the meantime, the Titans will be tasked with replacing Wake’s presence in the pass rush. While he hasn’t registered a sack since his dominant 2.5 sack outing against Cleveland in Week 1, he currently leads the team in total pressures according to PFF charting with 31 — Harold Landry is a close second with 30 — and ranks 8th among all NFL edge rushers in pass rush productivity, a per snap measure of effectiveness.
Reggie Gilbert, Kamalei Correa, and Sharif Finch will now become more critical and I wouldn’t be surprised to see rookie defensive lineman Jeffery Simmons take on some of Wake’s pass rush snaps, bumping Rashaan Evans outside in the Titans preferred package.
Replacing Wake on the 53-man roster is undrafted rookie Derick Roberson who flashed in preseason and brings a little more explosiveness and bend to the position than the Gilbert-Correa-Finch trio. I wouldn’t be totally shocked if we saw him work his way into some pass rush opportunities by the end of the season.
Also heading to IR is special teams ace Chris Milton. The former Colt had been in and out of the lineup earlier in the season with a calf injury and had recently been on the injury report with an ankle. There is no indication if the ankle was the cause of his move to IR, but his season is over nonetheless.
Milton’s spot on the roster is taken by undrafted rookie Kareem Orr. Like Roberson, Orr flashed in camp and during preseason and has hung around the practice squad all season. With LeShaun Sims leaving Sunday’s game with a foot issue, Orr will join Tye Smith as options for the third cornerback spot if Sims can’t go as well as a chance to step into some of Milton’s special teams duties.
Sims and Delanie Walker are two guys that we should definitely be keeping an eye on during the week. Walker has been out of the lineup since the Chargers game and as much as I hate to say it... the Titans offense hasn’t really missed him. If he comes back this week I would view that as more of a bonus than anything. Sims, on the other hand, is pretty important. He’s played pretty decently after stepping into Malcolm Butler’s spot in the lineup and brings a good amount of experience to the table.
The Titans added cornerback Kenneth Durden back to the practice squad to take Orr’s place and added defensive tackle Joey Ivie to that group as well.
The Titans weren’t the only team to get bad injury news headed into the big AFC South clash this weekend though. The Colts moved tight end Eric Ebron to IR and star receiver T.Y. Hilton said today that he wasn’t sure if he would be able to play this week after his calf injury tightened up on him during Indy’s 20-17 loss to the Texans on Thursday night.
Colts WR TY Hilton said today he was fighting thru tightness in his calf Thursday night — "I didn't have my explosiveness" — and spent the weekend in the training room, getting treatment. Hopes to practice this week and play, but at this point, he doesn't know for sure.— Zak Keefer (@zkeefer) November 26, 2019
We know the Colts will be without starting running back Marlon Mack for this game in addition to Ebron, but if they’re also missing Hilton, that’ll certainly help offset the Titans loss of Wake and possibly Sims. Hilton and rookie cornerback Rock Ya-Sin — who missed the Texans game with an ankle injury — will be players to monitor this week on the opposing injury reports.