The Titans came from behind to beat the Bears and finish their 2019 preseason with a 2-2 record. It was pretty much what you’d expect from a fourth preseason game. No stars and sloppy play. It wasn’t as bad as last year’s fourth preseason game, but it was still a tough watch. For the last time in the preseason, here are my winners and losers from Titans 19, Bears 15.
Guys who didn’t play: Winners
Erik Bacharach of the Tennessean had a good stat from the Titans fourth preseason game a year ago:
Mike Vrabel sat out 39 players in last year’s fourth preseason game. 38 of those 39 made the 53-man roster; only WR Nick Williams, who was dealing with a hamstring injury at the time, didn’t make the cut.— Erik Bacharach (@ErikBacharach) August 29, 2019
So, who suits up tonight — and who doesn't — will be telling. #Titans https://t.co/kBWuuAJrQ9
By my count, the Titans held out 44 players in tonight’s game. That number includes Taylor Lewan and Jeffery Simmons who are not expected to count towards the 53-man roster when cuts come Saturday — Lewan due to suspension while Simmons is expected to start the season on PUP. That number also includes safety/corner Joshua Kalu, who is on the bubble, but was unavailable due to injury.
Scratch my Kalu interpretation. He got dinged versus Steelers and is not in Chicago. #Titans.— Paul Kuharsky (@PaulKuharskyNFL) August 30, 2019
The only other bubble guy dealing with an injury would be David Fluellen — who also didn’t play tonight — and I maintain that he’s extremely likely to make the final roster.
That leaves 40 players who appear to be safe on the 53-man roster if the Titans follow the same blueprint they used last year. A lot of those names were already locks, but here are some of the more notable players who sat out and seem to be very likely to make the roster:
- Darius Jennings
- Taywan Taylor
- MyCole Pruitt
- Anthony Firkser
- Kevin Pamphile
- Jamil Douglas
- Isaiah Mack
- Daren Bates
The biggest surprise of this group is Mack, who has been excellent this preseason and appears to have earned a roster spot as one of just three defensive linemen to be held out of this game, joining Jurrell Casey and DaQuan Jones. Taywan Taylor and Jamil Douglas are two other guys that seemed to be close to the bubble, but now look like they’re probably safely on the 53 barring a surprise.
Guys who DID play: Losers
Once you take out the 40 players who were held out for non-injury reasons (guys who seem likely to have punched their ticket to the roster) and the three specialists in the kicking game, you’re left with about 10 roster spots for the players who were on the field tonight. There were a few notable guys who ended up playing tonight, including:
- Jeremy McNichols
- Corey Levin
- Ryan Hewitt
- Austin Johnson
- Brent Urban
- Matt Dickerson
- Amani Bledsoe
- David Long
- Tye Smith
- Kenneth Durden
- Kareem Orr
Being on this list isn’t necessarily the end of the road, but it means these guys at least had a little more work to do heading in. In some cases, it might also have had more to do with the numbers available at their respective position as well.
There are plenty of notable names here, but the defensive line stands out to me. Isaiah Mack getting the night off while Brent Urban, Austin Johnson, and Matt Dickerson all worked was a big surprise to me. I’ll be posting a final 53-man roster projection tomorrow, but there is at least a chance that one of these guys get left off the roster.
Dalyn Dawkins: Winner
Dawkins isn’t going to make the roster, but he’s a guy that I always enjoy watching when he’s in the game. Despite his small stature at just 5’-7” and 183 pounds, he runs incredibly hard and shows absolutely zero fear when attacking the hole. He finished with 13 carries for 117 yards on the ground and added 4 catches for 31 yards and 2 touchdowns on the night. I wouldn’t be opposed to seeing him back on the practice squad here.
Logan Woodside: Loser
Woodside wasn’t terrible, but he missed some easy throws that could have been touchdowns or at least would have kept drives alive. I’ve waffled on whether or not I think he belongs on the 53-man roster throughout the preseason and tonight didn’t help his case in my eyes.
David Long: Winner
Long was one of the bigger names to play in this game and he was very active again. It seems like he’s one of those players that is constantly around the ball, and while he needs some refinement, I think his preseason performance is very worthy of a roster spot.
The Titans secondary: Losers
Outside of Tye Smith — who started and played the first few series of the game — this was a mostly rough performance from lower end of the Titans secondary. Guys like Kareem Orr, Kenneth Durden, JoJo Tillery, Mike Jordan, LaDarius Wiley, and D’Andre Payne struggled with the Bears passing attack, allowing Tyler Bray to throw for 252 yards. The coverage got much better in the second half, but that first half was reminiscent of the old Perrish Cox-Valentino Blake secondaries.
Derick Roberson: Winner
Roberson saw extensive playing time and was a little up and down, but I saw more good than bad. The highlight was this sack of Bears quarterback Tyler Bray that featured Roberson’s ability to corner around the edge.
He was around the quarterback a lot during the second half of this game and finished with 2 sacks and 2 tackles for loss on the night. I can’t see him making the roster after the addition of Reggie Gilbert, but a practice squad spot sounds about right for Roberson.
For watching every snap of this monstrosity. Let’s get the regular season going.