The Tennessee Titans continue to deal with a slew of injuries. Head coach Mike Vrabel just delivered his Friday afternoon press conference ahead of Sunday’s inner-conference showdown against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Vrabel ruled OUT linebacker David Long Jr., cornerback Jackrabbit Jenkins, defensive tackle Teair Tart, left guard Rodger Saffold, fullback Tory Carter and defensive tackle Larrell Murchison.
These @Titans have been ruled out for Sunday vs @steelers, per Vrabel:— Jim Wyatt (@jwyattsports) December 17, 2021
LB David Long
G Rodger Saffold
CB Jackrabbit Jenkins
DL Teair Tart
FB Tory Carter
DL Larrell Murchison
Saffold is the most noteworthy name on this list. The starting guard recently revealed that he is dealing with a peculiar nerve injury in his shoulder, which has limited his abilities throughout the course of the season. Aaron Brewer is expected to start in Saffold’s place, although Brewer himself was absent from Friday’s practice. It’s a great sign that Brewer hasn’t been ruled out just yet according to the list above. That should put him on track to play and start. Should Brewer be unable to suit up, expect Corey Levin or Dillon Radunz to start in his place.
Long will miss yet another game in what’s been one of the more frustrating injury occurrences for the Titans as of late. Long was never placed on injured reserve, but will miss his fifth straight game on Sunday. Including the bye week, Long has now had six weeks to rest an injury, but has unfortunately been unable to get past it. Expect Rashaan Evans and Jayon Brown to start against the Steelers. Zach Cunningham will also make his Titans debut, per Vrabel. The Titans are thin at the inside linebacker position, and it could lead to a ton of Cunningham snaps in his debut appearance.
Cornerback Janoris Jenkins has also been ruled out and will miss his second straight game. Expect veteran corner Buster Skrine to once again start in his place on the outside opposite Kristian Fulton. Skrine has been excellent since joining the Titans a few weeks ago, and recorded his first interception as a Titan while playing 100% of the team’s defensive snaps in last week’s shutout win over Jacksonville.
Some combination of Naquan Jones and Kyle Peko will replace Larrell Murchison and Teair Tart on the inside of Tennessee’s defensive line. Tart is an underrated member of this front seven, but hasn’t played since the loss to Houston. Denico Autry didn’t practice on Friday, but should be good to go while continuing to be a flexible defensive weapon that’s capable of moving all over the formation.
Khari Blasingame will earn the reps at fullback with Carter ruled OUT.
Other key players such as A.J. Brown and Chris Jackson remain on IR.
As always, stay tuned to MCM for all roster updates with in-depth reactions and analysis.