The Tennessee Titans completed a week of joint practices against the Arizona Cardinals. The two sides will meet in Saturday’s third and final preseason contest. It represents the final opportunity for roster-bubble players to make an impression. Titans General Manager Jon Robinson has several difficult decisions to make.
There are several ongoing roster battles. We’ve identified three we’re particularly paying attention to.
Two or Three quarterbacks?
The Titans were expected to carry three quarterbacks this season because rookie signal-caller Malik Willis is raw and is still getting used to running a pro-style NFL offense. That line in thinking has somewhat shifted throughout the preseason because presumed backup Logan Woodside has played poorly. Woodside has completed 21-of-35 (60 percent) passing attempts for 158 yards, zero touchdowns and three interceptions. Woodside has struggled with turnovers and accuracy issues. It’s possible Willis has flashed enough playmaking ability to convince the Titans to keep two quarterbacks.
Woodside may receive one final opportunity against the Cardinals to convince the Titans’ brass he’s worth rostering. Woodside took all of the second-team reps on offense during Thursday’s practice, an occurrence that hasn’t been common as of late. Woodside may even receive the start against Arizona. It’s worth noting Woodside has typically played with deep reserves on the offensive line and at wide receiver. Woodside may perform more admirably if given an opportunity to play alongside better quality weapons. It’s a fate-deciding contest for Woodside.
Worth noting. #Titans QB Logan Woodside is back taking all of the second team reps at today’s practice.— Sam Phalen (@Sam_Phalen) August 25, 2022
Has gotten twice as much work as Malik Willis. Possibly starting on Saturday?
Who’s the sixth wide receiver?
The first five receiver spots are essentially written in stone with Robert Woods, Nick Westbrook-Ikhine, Treylon Burks, Kyle Philips and Racey McMath. The sixth spot is presumably up for grabs. Second-year receiver Dez Fitzpatrick remains the favorite, but he’s facing stiff competition. Fitzpatrick has taken strides this summer following his disappointing rookie campaign. Fitzpatrick was cut this time last year, but showed up to camp as a stronger, better developed player.
Fitzpatrick’s competition includes Mason Kinsey, Reggie Roberson and Cody Hollister. Kinsey has enjoyed a fruitful training camp and stood out during joint practices with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Roberson has come on strong as of late following an injury that previously held him out. Roberson recorded a team-high four receptions against the Buccaneers. Hollister is surprisingly the longest-tenured receiver on the team (four years) and has also come on strong in recent practices. All of these receivers are different and bring something to the table.
Sorting through the new defensive backs
The Titans keep acquiring defensive backs. Over the previous two weeks, they’ve added two via trade (Tyree Gillespie and Ugo Amadi), signed one (Adrian Colbert) and claimed one off waivers (Lonnie Johnson Jr.). All four have made good initial impressions, but their window for impressing Robinson is small.
Amadi carries potential as a nickel cornerback, but the Titans already have several defenders that can be utilized in that role (Elijah Molden, Roger McCreary and Chris Jackson, most notably). Assuming there’s one roster spot for these four defenders, it may come down to which one can play as a tight end eraser in man coverage. Johnson played well in that role against the Buccaneers, but the Titans later acquired Amadi for a reason. The Titans aren’t happy with their depth at safety/reserve defensive back.
Lonnie Johnson has a defined role. Play special teams and guard TEs. He looks like a LB out there. If he can do enough on ST, as a converted CB, I think he can make this roster as a dime safety. Nice rep on the out route here and nice tackle. Can't stop everything, prevent YAC. pic.twitter.com/CjJgTmu8b2— TicTacTitans (@TicTacTitans) August 21, 2022
Great anticipation by Tyree Gillespie. Getting a head start in career production over 2024 Conditional 7th Round pick D.J. Uiagalelei pic.twitter.com/rBjhIIgcCv— James Foster (@NoFlagsFilm) August 21, 2022