The Tennessee Titans claimed an important two-point victory over the Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday. The Titans are alive in the unpredictable AFC South. There are several talking points and takeaways. Unfortunately the benching of sophomore first-round cornerback Caleb Farley is one of them.
The Titans entered the contest with a plethora of injuries at cornerback. Elijah Molden and Chris Jackson are on IR. Ugo Amadi was ruled inactive due to injury. Titans General Manager Jon Robinson was forced to add veteran cornerback Terrance Mitchell to the 53-man roster earlier this week. Farley couldn’t get on the field despite all the movement. Mitchell out-snapped Farley 53-1 on defense. Farley’s lone snap was the result of an injury that essentially forced him on the field late in the fourth quarter. Farley played seven special teams snaps, too.
Mitchell, who arrived in Tennessee roughly four days ago, was on the field for 76% of the team’s defensive snaps. With the injuries piling at corner, Mitchell started on the outside opposite Kristian Fulton while Roger McCreary kicked inside to the nickel. The coaching staff flat-out choose Mitchell over Farley.
To add insult to injury, Mitchell was dreadful. Mitchell allowed six completions on eight targets for 102 yards and one touchdown, earning himself a 58.3 grade from Pro Football Focus. Raiders quarterback Derek Carr enjoyed a near-perfect 156.3 quarterback rating when targeting Mitchell.
Mitchell had an especially awful fourth quarter. He allowed the Raiders to complete a late fourth-quarter fourth-and-15 via a 60-yard reception to Mack Hollins when all Mitchell had to do was take away the big play. That conversion kept the Raiders’ comeback efforts alive. Hollins later mossed and embarrassed Mitchell in the end zone on the same drive, bringing the Raiders within a game-tying two-point conversion attempt. The Titans defense held firm and secured the victory.
It’s the continuation of a concerning theme that first emerged throughout Tennessee’s Week 2 loss. Farley played 49 total defensive snaps in that contest, which accounted for 72% of Tennessee’s defensive plays. Farley struggled, earning the team’s second-worst coverage grade (44.8) among all cornerbacks, via PFF. Farley eventually lost snaps to rookie undrafted cornerback Tre Avery.
The Titans seem to be taking a “anyone but Farley” approach.