Tennessee Titans sophomore offensive tackle Nicholas Petit-Frere will undergo shoulder surgery, according to a report from Paul Kuharsky. He suffered the injury in Thursday’s primetime defeat to the Pittsburgh Steelers. It’s unclear whether or not Petit-Frere will return this season. As Kuharsky notes, it’s unlikely though considering the Titans have nine regular-season games left.
It may officially end an extremely disappointing sophomore campaign for Petit-Frere. The former Ohio State standout was initially suspended six games for violating the league’s gambling policy. The suspension was reduced to four games after the league office made amendments to the policy, but Petit-Frere failed to immediately reclaim a starting job.
Petit-Frere eventually replaced a struggling Andre Dillard versus the Baltimore Ravens in London. He was the starting left tackle versus the Atlanta Falcons, and then started at right tackle against the Steelers, with Dillard slotting back in at the blindside due to a Chris Hubbard injury. Petit-Frere suffered the injury just 12 snaps into the game.
Pro Football Focus assigned Petit-Frere an unimaginative pass-blocking grade of 12.7. Petit-Frere was consistently beaten by Steelers elite EDGE rusher T.J. Watt.
With the Titans coming off a mini-bye, Hubbard should be healthy enough to start at right tackle versus the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 10. Head coach Mike Vrabel, perhaps with input from offensive line coach Jason Houghtaling, will now be tasked with deciding between Dillard and Dillon Radunz. It would be maddening if Vrabel went back to Dillard, however.
Radunz played the majority of the snaps at right tackle versus Pittsburgh. The former North Dakota State standout was by far Tennessee’s best offensive tackle versus Watt and Pittsburgh’s other pass rushers. Pro Football Focus has Radunz at a 66.8 pass-blocking grade via 40 pass-pro reps. Radunz didn’t allow any sacks or hits, but did allow three pressures.
The Titans have consistently been hesitant to test Radunz at tackle throughout his rollercoaster career. Dillard has been the worst tackle in the league this season. Perhaps Radunz will finally receive a fair shake at the offensive tackle position.