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Titans receiving pass rushing production despite injuries

A group effort takes center stage.

NFL: Las Vegas Raiders at Tennessee Titans Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Many feared the Tennessee Titans’ pass rush would fall off a cliff following the season-ending injury to Harold Landry. Although the Titans have certainly missed Landry’s pass-rushing prowess and overall versatility, they’ve remained uber-productive in relation to getting quarterbacks. The Titans have compiled 13.0 sacks through five contests. Only seven teams have more sacks under their belt. It’s been an impressive group effort.

Sophomore pass rusher Rashad Weaver has been a big reason why the Titans are managing to create production in Landry’s absence. The No. 135 overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft, Weaver is tied for first place for the team lead in sacks with 4.0 quarterback takedowns. Weaver has as many sacks as Aaron Donald, Von Miller and Brian Burns. Only nine defenders have more sacks than Weaver, who trails the league leaders by 2.0 sacks (Maxx Crosby, Matthew Judon, Nick Bosa and Micah Parsons, 6.0 sacks).

Through five weeks, the Titans are one of four franchises (New England Patriots, Dallas Cowboys and Buffalo Bills) to roster two defenders with four-plus sacks (Weaver and Denico Autry, who also has 4.0 sacks). The Titans are the only team across the league to possess three players with 3.5+ sacks (Autry 4.0, Weaver 4.0 and Jeffery Simmons 3.5). The Titans’ horses are providing sack production. The aforementioned group effort is coming to fruition.

This group possesses the potential to be considerably more productive if Bud Dupree managed to remain healthy and productive. Dupree has recorded 1.0 sack this season despite appearing in three contests (one of which he departed early). I’m done holding my breath on Dupree, but Shane Bowen’s defense would receive an uptick in production if Dupree managed to finish strong.

Tennessee’s defensive line is also receiving notable snaps and contributions from underappreciated players, even ones who haven’t recorded a sack. Teair Tart shockingly leads all Titans defenders with five pass breakups. Mario Edwards has played 69 defensive snaps over the previous two weeks. Rookie undrafted outside linebacker Sam Okuayinonu recorded 0.5 sacks in his debut on Sunday. DeMarcus Walker continues to play valuable snaps as a versatile asset that can play both inside and outside ala Autry.

Tennessee’s pass rush is fearless and productive. They’re current form is rather impressive given the situations surrounding Landry and Dupree. They’ll need another big performance against the Indianapolis Colts in Week 7.