The Titans have officially ruled out cornerback Adoree’ Jackson and wide receivers Adam Humphries and Kalif Raymond from Sunday’s win and in game with the Texans. This will be their fourth straight game without both Jackson (foot) and Humphries (ankle) after both players were hurt during the win over the Colts in Week 13. Raymond, of course, was knocked out of last week’s game thanks to a vicious (illegal) hit from Saints safety C.J. Gardner-Johnson that forced a fumble and swung the finish of the game.
Wide receiver Cody Hollister is listed as questionable with an ankle injury of his own.
On the positive side of the ledger, Daren Bates, Derrick Henry, Jeffery Simmons, Corey Davis, and Harold Landry are all good to go for Sunday. This week marks the first time since the week of the Jaguars game that we’ve seen Henry get a full week of work. I would imagine that means we will see something closer to the dominant 22 than what we’ve seen the last three weeks.
Jackson’s absence means another week of heavy snaps for LeShaun Sims and Tramaine Brock joining Logan Ryan atop the Titans cornerback depth chart. Brock played pretty well against New Orleans, but he’s obviously not on the level that Adoree’ is as a cover man.
Humphries and Raymond being out likely means a ton of snaps for A.J. Brown, Corey Davis, and Tajae Sharpe. The Titans will be in good hands with that trio, but the depth is pretty thin behind them as Darius Jennings, Rashard Davis, and Hollister, who is questionable himself, are the only other receivers available.
That also means that the Titans will be without the only three players to return a punt for the team this year in Jackson, Humphries, and Raymond. Obviously, I’d expect Jennings to handle the kick return duties, something he was excellent at last season, but the punt return spot is a question mark.
Rashard Davis could be the answer there. The XFL’s number one overall draft pick was a prolific punt returner in college when he brought back a whopping 4 of his 15 return opportunities for touchdowns during his senior season at James Madison University. He was promoted off the Titans practice squad this week along with Jennings, but has yet to log an NFL return. Davis has spent most of the past three seasons on various practice squads for the Eagles, Chiefs, and Raiders before landing in Tennessee.
The other punt return option that comes to mind is rookie safety Amani Hooker. Mike Vrabel has mentioned him multiple times throughout the year as a guy who could get some work there if needed. Hooker had just one punt return during his college career at Iowa.
On the opposite sideline, the Texans are dealing with several injuries of their own. They have officially ruled out speedy receiver Will Fuller and listed another seven players as questionable heading into the weekend:
- QB Deshaun Watson (back)
- WR DeAndre Hopkins (illness)
- WR Kenny Stills (knee)
- LT Laremy Tunsil (ankle)
- LB Jacob Martin (knee)
- S Jahleel Addae (Achilles)
- CB Bradley Roby (hamstring)
That’s obviously a group of pretty important players for Houston. If the Chiefs win and lock the Texans into the 4 seed before kickoff, I’d guess that we don’t see any of these guys. They’re all too valuable to that team to put them on the field and risk further injury for what would be a completely meaningless game for Houston.
A Texans team without Watson, Fuller, Hopkins, and Stills would make Jackson’s absence far less concerning for the Titans obviously. It will be interesting to follow the reports from guys like Ian Rapoport and Adam Schefter between now and kickoff to see if we get any hints about who might or might not be playing for Houston in Week 17.