by Jim Wyatt, Senior Writer/Editor – TitansOnline.com
The players released included cornerback Manny Abad, tight end Jace Amaro, fullback Joe Bacci (waived injured), defensive lineman Angelo Blackson, nose tackle DeAngelo Brown, tight end Jerome Cunningham, long snapper Ryan DiSalvo (waived injured), quarterback Tyler Ferguson, cornerback Demontre Hurst, receiver Darius Jennings, safety Denzel Johnson, running back Akeem Judd (waived injured), receiver Jonathan Krause, receiver KeVonn Mabon, offensive lineman Tyler Marz, offensive lineman Josue Matias, receiver Tre McBride, tackle Steven Moore, running back Khalfani Muhammad, receiver Giovanni Pascascio, tackle Jonah Pirsig, running back Brandon Radcliff, defensive end Cameron Robbins, tackle Brad Seaton, tight end Tim Semisch, guard Jake Simonich, cornerback Darrius Sims, cornerback D’Joun Smith, center Mark Spelman, linebacker Justin Staples, defensive lineman Jimmy Staten (waived injured), receiver/returner Eric Weems and nose tackle Antwaun Woods. Also, quarterback Alex Tanney and receiver Tajae Sharpe have been placed on Injured Reserve.
On Friday night, the Titans acquired Chiefs defensive lineman David King via trade.
Changes, of course, could still come before the Titans face the Oakland Raiders on September 10.
But for now, here’s a look at where the team stands numbers-wise at each position, and a quick analysis….
Quarterbacks (2): Marcus Mariota, Matt Cassel.
Comment: Mariota completed 62.5 percent of his passes in the preseason, with a 110.0 passer rating. He moved around well, and looks ready for the start of the season. Cassel turned in a solid preseason after returning from thumb surgery. Tanney was injured in the preseason finale at Kansas City, and placed on IR.
Running backs (4): DeMarco Murray, Derrick Henry, David Fluellen, Jalston Fowler (FB).
Comment: Murray was slowed in the preseason with a hamstring injury, but is ready to roll. Henry benefitted from the extra work, and is in a position to contribute even more in his second season. Fluellen earned a roster spot with his play during the offseason, beating out Muhammad, among others.
Receivers (5): Corey Davis, Eric Decker, Harry Douglas, Rishard Matthews, Taywan Taylor.
Comment: Matthews, the team’s leading receiver a year ago, leads a group that is expected to be back at full strength after dealing with injuries in the preseason. Davis and Decker should make a big impact this fall, and Taylor showed off his skills with an impressive preseason as well. The Titans placed Sharpe on IR, and parted ways with Tre McBride here as well.
Tight ends (3): Delanie Walker, Phillip Supernaw, Jonnu Smith.
Comment: Walker, coming off his second straight Pro Bowl, has looked leaner and faster during the offseason. Supernaw can help the team in a number of ways, including as a blocker and on special teams, and occasionally as a pass catcher. Smith, a third round draft pick, has shown plenty of promise early.
Offensive line (8): C Ben Jones, G Josh Kline, G Quinton Spain, T Jack Conklin, T Taylor Lewan, T Dennis Kelly, C/G Tim Lelito, C/G Corey Levin.
Comment: The starting five returns following a year when the Titans finished third in the NFL in rushing and Mariota was sacked up 23 times in 15 starts. Kelly and Lelito provide a veteran presence as back-ups, and Levin earned a spot because of his versatility.
Defensive line (6): Jurrell Casey, Austin Johnson, DaQuan Jones, Karl Klug, Sylvester Williams, David King.
Comment: Casey, a two-time Pro Bowler, leads a group packed with versatility. Johnson and Jones have played inside and out. Klug battled his way back from an Achilles injury to earn a spot. Williams, formerly with the Broncos, adds beef in the middle. The Titans on Friday traded for King, formerly of the Chiefs.
Linebackers (11): Daren Bates, Jayon Brown, Josh Carraway, Kevin Dodd, Derrick Morgan, Brian Orakpo, Nate Palmer, Erik Walden, Aaron Wallace, Avery Williamson, Wesley Woodyard.
Comment: The Titans went heavy here, in large part because of special teams. The starting four – Orakpo, Williamson, Woodyard and Morgan – are back, but some newcomers will add pop. Brown flashed during the preseason with his speed and play-making ability, and there’s depth at OLB with Wallace, Dodd and Carraway.
Secondary (11): Adoree’ Jackson, Brice McCain, Kalan Reed, Logan Ryan, LeShaun Sims, Tye Smith, Kevin Byard, Johnathan Cyprien, Curtis Riley, Da’Norris Searcy, Brynden Trawick.
Comment: The Titans still have to sort out their rotation here, but they have numbers to help in the defense and on special teams, and plenty of new faces. Byard should be even more of a playmaker at safety in Year 2, and plenty of options are on the table at cornerback, where Jackson, Sims and others have worked early in preseason games.
Specialists (3): K Ryan Succop, P Brett Kern, LS Beau Brinkley.
Comment: All three specialist are back from 2016, when the Titans were solid here. Succop made 22-of-24 field goals last year, when Kern averaged 44.2 yards with a 38.6 net.