The Tennessee Titans trimmed their roster down to 53 players on Saturday to get ready for the 2020 season. Here are the moves that stood out the most as they did so.
QB: Trevor Siemian Out, Logan Woodside In
The biggest Training Camp competition for the Titans in 2020 was for the backup QB spot, a battle that Woodside has seemingly won.
When Woodside and rookie Cole McDonald both struggled early in camp, the Titans waived McDonald and signed Siemian, a veteran. Since then, neither Woodside nor Siemian has looked particularly promising in practice.
It was always pretty clear, though, that the Titans were intent on giving Woodside a shot to be the backup—the team gave him significantly more reps than Siemian. And that’s the decision they made on Saturday, releasing Siemian.
There’s a chance the Titans look on the waiver wire for another backup QB option like Josh Rosen, but they seem content with Woodside.
OLB: Tough Luck for D’Andre Walker
#Titans current crop of edge rushers following final cuts:
• Harold Landry
• Vic Beasley
• Kamalei Correa
• Derick Roberson
— Luke Worsham (@luke_worsham) September 5, 2020
Walker’s Titans career ended before it ever began.
The Titans took Walker, a pass rusher from Georgia, in the fifth round of the 2019 draft. He spent his entire rookie season on injured reserve and was released on Saturday in a somewhat shocking move.
The Titans seemed optimistic throughout the offseason about Walker’s ability to contribute to the pass rush in 2020 and, considering the Titans have a somewhat thin and banged-up crop of outside linebackers, he seemed like a shoo-in for the final 53.
If he clears waivers, which he may not, he’ll likely end up back on the practice squad.
DB: Deep Group Finds a Solution
Defensive back was the hardest group to understand when it came to predicting who would wind up making it onto the Titans’ final roster.
Aside from locks like Kevin Byard, Kenny Vaccaro, Malcolm Butler and Adoree’ Jackson, it seemed like several different scenarios were in play.
The one that the Titans went with was interesting. They kept Chris Jackson and Joshua Kalu while moving on from Tye Smith, Kareem Orr, Kenneth Durden and Chris Milton.
It all came down, likely, to personal preference for the Titans’ coaching staff. A lot of the players who were cut and those who were kept are interchangeable.
The team is also clearly confident in the abilities of 36-year-old Johnathan Joseph, who seems firmly entrenched as the No. 4 cornerback.
OLB: Good News for Vic Beasley
Vic Beasley, a bona fide ghost for most of the offseason, was removed from the Titans “non-football injury” list and added to the active roster, making him eligible for Week One’s game against the Broncos.
Beasley failed his physical after reporting to Training Camp 10 days late, but this is a good sign as to his recovery status.
Another good sign was the fact that, though he did not practice with the team, Beasley was on the practice field on Friday, working off to the side with head coach Mike Vrabel.
It looks like there’s a chance that Beasley will be on the field and in uniform for the Titans pretty early in the 2020 season.
WR: Cameron Batson and Cody Hollister Make the Cut
Another position that saw a lot of competition in Training Camp was wide receiver, where the fifth and sixth spots were up for grabs.
After an interesting competition, the Titans waived Rashard Davis and Mason Kinsey and decided to keep Batson and Hollister.
Batson, though he missed all of the 2019 season with an injury, has been with the Titans since 2017 when he made the team as an undrafted rookie. Hollister gives the team much-needed size with his 6-foot-4-inch, 215-pound frame.
It looked for a while like Davis’ acumen as a punt returner might lead to him making the cut, but it would have been somewhat redundant for the team to include him and Batson, as both are smaller receivers.
RB: Jeremy McNichols Out, Again
Crop of running backs on the #Titans‘ final roster:
• Derrick Henry
• Darrynton Evans
• Khari Blasingame
Clearly, 1) Evans’ health has improved and 2) the team sees Blasingame as more than just a lead blocker.
— Luke Worsham (@luke_worsham) September 5, 2020
McNichols spent 2019 Training Camp with the Titans and performed well in both practices and preseason games. In the end, though, the team released him.
When the Titans brought McNichols back halfway through 2020 Training Camp, it looked like he would have a pretty good shot to make the team.
At the time, rookie RB Darrynton Evans was mending an injury and the Titans didn’t have much at the position aside from starter Derrick Henry.
Since then, Evans has seemingly returned to full health and the team has praised fullback Khari Blasingame for his versatility, naming him as a candidate to receive carries during the season.
As a result, McNichols just didn’t fit into the plan anymore. If anything were to happen to one of the backs who did make the cut, though, the Titans would likely turn to McNichols quickly.
OL: Aaron Brewer Adds to Pool of Rookies
Only one undrafted rookie made the Titans’ final roster: center Aaron Brewer.
It makes sense, as the Titans don’t have a whole lot of depth at his position. They needed to keep an insurance policy in case anything ever were to happen to starter Ben Jones.
He figures to stick around for a while and not be someone who bounces back and forth from the practice squad to the active roster. If anyone, the player in line for that is veteran Daniel Munyer, who made the team but had some fumbled exchanges during camp.
Cover image: George Walker IV/The Tennessean via pool