The Tennessee Titans lost Saturday’s preseason game 23-17 to the Chicago Bears. We’ve since rewatched the tape and analyzed the snap counts. We’ve swiftly identified three learning points from the way Mike Vrabel and Terrell Williams deployed their players.
Is Nick Westbrook-Ikhine’s roster spot safe?
Fourth-year Titans wide receiver Nick Westbrook-Ikhine played 20 snaps against the Bears. It was a similar amount to undrafted free-agent receivers who are attempting to make the team like Kearis Jackson (19 snaps) and Tre’Shaun Harrison (18) snaps. Westbrook-Ikhine had the fifth-most snaps of the 10 Titans receivers that played.
Perhaps Westbrook-Ikhine isn’t safe on the 53-man roster, and is actually in contention with some of the younger options. Or perhaps the Titans coaching staff wanted to give Malik Willis and Will Levis a veteran option as they sort through their No. 2 quarterback battle. Westbrook-Ikhine’s snap count is worth monitoring going forward.
What is going on with Monty Rice?
Monty Rice is trailing Jack Gibbens in the position battle to start at inside linebacker next to Azeez Al-Shaair. We expected Gibbens and Rice play a significant amount of snaps versus the Bears. That expectation didn’t come to fruition for Rice. The former Georgia standout was limited to seven defensive plays.
Gibbens played just 10 snaps. It was second-year linebacker Chance Campbell that received the bulk of work with 25 defensive plays. Rice’s roster spot is likely safe, so perhaps the Titans wanted to give Campbell (and Ben Niemann, 24 snaps) an opportunity to stake their claim.
Seven snaps for Monty Rice. Chance Campbell led all LBs with 25 snaps. Here's are the rest. pic.twitter.com/ewBcJocXE8— TURRON DAVENPORT (@TDavenport_NFL) August 12, 2023
Does Andrew Rupcich have a chance to start at RT?
Veteran right tackle Chris Hubbard received the first opportunity at right tackle, playing 12 snaps alongside the four other cemented starters. It was second-year undrafted free agent Andrew Rupcich who received the biggest opportunity to challenge Hubbard for the job. Rupcich led all Titans offensive linemen in snaps with with 44.
Rupcich didn’t fair particularly well. He allowed a team-high five pressures (tied with Zack Johnson), per Pro Football Focus. Veteran signing Justin Murray was expected to get himself into the mix, but played all of his 33 snaps at guard. The Titans also list Murray on the depth chart as a guard, so he doesn’t appear to be in contention at right tackle.
Rupcich didn’t do enough to challenge Hubbard.
#Titans backup tackles Zack Johnson and Andrew Rupcich tied for the team lead in pressures allowed with 5 each, but more concerning is Nicholas Petit-Frere giving up 4 pressures on 13 pass block snaps. That’s not a great sign for a guy who needs a big step forward in year two.— Mike Herndon (@MikeHerndonNFL) August 13, 2023