What can preseason snap counts tell us about the Titans final 53?

Despite a stormy start, the Tennessee Titans played their third and final preseason game of 2021. Players have now had minicamps, training camps, and games to prove that they are worth one of the coveted final 53 spots on this Titans roster. While this isn’t necessarily a prediction article, I am going to look at players currently fighting for their NFL career, their snap counts, and see if there is some pertinent information to be gleaned.

Back-up QB

PlayerGame OneGame TwoGame ThreeTotal
Logan Woodside383234104
Matt Barkley293043102
Titans preseason QB snap counts

After their individual performances in game three of the preseason, I think it is safe to assume that Logan Woodside is going to win the battle of the backups. They gave Matt Barkley every opportunity to try and take the job from Woodside, but when it mattered most, at home against his former team, Barkley shrank into a corn cobb.

The snaps between them were fairly even, and against Chicago with considerably more snaps, Barkley did less with more opportunity. It was a good run for Barkley, who is the closest back up quarterback to give Woodside any kind of real competition, but much like Thanos, Woodside is inevitable.

Third RB option

PlayerGame OneGame TwoGame ThreeTotal
Jeremy McNichols7 (6)11 (4)18 (10)
Brian Hill21 (13)20 (2)26 (3)67 (18)
Mehki Sargent29 (5)31 (12)26 (5)86 (22)
Javian Hawkins18 (0)18 (0)
Numbers in ( ) are additional ST snaps

Some pundits in the local media will tell you that having a third running back is very unlikely, and even if they did he wouldn’t dress out on Sundays. Well, that’s just not true at all for a team like the Titans. When you look at 2020 and also Todd Downing’s stint as OC for the Raiders in 2017, you can see that there is enough evidence to suggest a third running back is making this team. On top of that, with Darrynton Evans’ health in question, we may actually see two guys on this list.

Jeremy McNichols has been underwhelming to say the least. He landed on the COVID list on Tuesday, so his lack of snaps comes as no surprise. However, this team is familiar enough with McNichols that it may not matter he didn’t log any snaps on Saturday.

The uncertainty surrounding Darrynton Evans’ health leaves the door open for McNichols, Evans, and one more to all make the final 53. If Evans’ health is in doubt, he will have to be signed to the 53 and then put on IR so he can come off the list at some point in the season.

Mehki Sargent has done enough with the snaps he has been given to make the final 53. He shows more speed, more elusiveness, and more strength than any of the RBs not named Henry or Evans. He has also shown he can pass block in the limited opportunities he has been given. However, there is some concern about a possible injury as he headed to the medical tent during Saturday’s game.

The WRs

PlayerGame OneGame TwoGame ThreeTotal
Marcus Johnson9 (2)011 (3)20 (5)
Nick Westbrook-Ikhine10 (2)12 (5)11 (4)33 (11)
Chester Rogers7 (2)8 (7)5 (2)20 (11)
Mason Kinsey26 (3)3649 (6)111 (9)
Cameron Batson12 (4)31 (3)33 (4)77 (11)
Fred Brown30 (3)29 (6)39 (10)98 (19)
Dez Fitzpatrick24 (5)2860 (4)112 (9)
Racey McMath38 (11)0 (23)38 (34)
Numbers in ( ) are additional ST snaps

Well this race got even tighter with the final preseason game’s results. As of this writing, the extent of Marcus Johnson’s injury is unknown. He left the game limping and went to the locker room. Much like Evans listed above, he could be a candidate to make the final 53 before being placed on IR (players must make the initial 53-man roster in order to be eligible to return from IR). Josh Reynolds is also a candidate for this type of roster maneuver.

When you’re looking at snap counts, I think the two most safe bets to make this team are Chester Rogers and Nick Westbrook-Ikhine. I think the team tried to make Fred Brown a thing, and they gave him the chance to be a thing, but he is not a thing.

Mason Kinsey had a really great overall preseason, and it’s a nice story, but I just don’t see a place where he can fit unless two wide receivers head to the IR list, and then he has to clear waivers, and some of these WRs are a very high risk to be snatched up by Atlanta for a reunion with Arthur Smith.

Racey McMath is destined for the practice squad after missing the final preseason game on the COVID-19 list. Dez Fitzpatrick has to correct his tendency to body catch. He caught 1 of 2 targets for 28 yards (with a drop) against the Bears. He played an eye-popping 60 snaps as seen above, so did he show enough over that time? It’s a hard question to answer, but I think he is going to end up making this team, and it may be due to the potential injury situation with the other (better) receivers.

Cam Batson has been the perennial practice squad guy and called up numerous times. He showed up big against the Bears, but much like Mason Kinsey, I have a hard time putting him on the final roster if the rest of the WRs are healthy.

Current Prediction: AJ Brown, Julio Jones, Josh Reynolds, Chester Rogers, Nick Westbrook-Ikhine, Marcus Johnson, Dez Fitzpatrick

The Borderline TEs

PlayerGame OneGame TwoGame ThreeTotal
Tommy Hudson31 (16)27 (15)19 (17)77 (48)
Jared Pinkney20 (0)19 (2)16 (0)55 (2)
Miller Forristall22 (3)13 (1)29 (2)64 (6)
Numbers in ( ) are additional ST snaps

Tommy Hudson is gonna be on the Titans team one way or the other. Whether that is practice squad or on the final-53, this staff likes him and he has a role on special teams. My prediction is that he is on the final 53.

Miller Forristall’s snap counts make a good case to try and get him signed to the practice squad. I think he has shown enough that he can possibly work on improving his techniques as a tight end, much like Hudson did last year.

Pinkney? Hardly knew ye.

The Last DL

PlayerGame OneGame TwoGame ThreeTotal
Anthony Rush1830 (1)13 (2)51 (3)
Woodrow Hamilton202619 (2)65 (2)
Naquan Jones19 (1)31 (1)14 (1)64 (3)
Freedom Akinmoladun13 (1)13 (1)
Numbers in ( ) are additional ST snaps

Anthony Rush is going to be the guy that makes the team from this list. Mike Keith even talked about how he may be pushing Teair Tart for the nose tackle job in early down situations. I think its the right move as the other guys didn’t really show enough to be worthy of a roster spot.

I like Naquan Jones to make it on the team’s practice squad.

The back of roster ILBs

PlayerGame OneGame TwoGame ThreeTotal
Nick Dzubnar14 (14)14 (14)
Monty Rice32 (12)37 (11)25 (16)94 (39)
Justin March-Lillard34 (5)41 (5)75 (10)
Jan Johnson13 (4)13 (7)25 (11)51 (22)
Numbers in ( ) are additional ST snaps

Both Nick Dzubnar and Justin March-Lillard landed on the COVID list earlier in the week before the Chicago game. I think Dzubnar’s versatility is going to land him on the roster, and I also think Monty Rice getting a lot of special teams snaps is going to end up being huge for him.

Rice and Dzubnar both making the roster wouldn’t be a surprise, and that would put the Titans at five ILBs. I don’t think any of the other guys at this position have done enough to cement themselves as a must need for the team.

The Rotational OLBs

PlayerGame OneGame TwoGame ThreeTotal
Derick Roberson19 (5)14 (14)16 (9)49 (28)
Olasunkanmi Adeniyi16 (10)13 (15)9 (10)38 (35)
Wyatt Ray24 (7)28 (5)12 (3)64 (15)
John Simon16 (2)22 (2)29 (2)67 (6)
Numbers in ( ) are additional ST snaps

Derick Roberson and Ola Adeniyi are making this roster in my mind. Downing last night praised Roberson for being a pro now, and Ola just has that speed that can be useful for special teams and pass rushing situations – plus his name is very fun to say (it’s pronounced oh-la ah-DAY-nee).

John Simon is an interesting one because he’s buds with Vrabel. How much will that weigh in the staff’s decision making? Favoritis in the NFL is a real thing, but with this position group being as deep as it’s ever been, I’m not sure there’s much value in having Simon take up a roster spot.

Wyatt Ray has basically been lost in the shuffle. Seeing his snap count get cut largely in half and barely seeing special team snaps is a sign of a wind down in my mind.

The Special Teamers/Safeties

PlayerGame OneGame TwoGame ThreeTotal
Clayton Geathers47 (9)23 (7)70 (16)
Bradley McDougald33 (11)20 (8)53 (19)
Jamal Carter24 (3)15 (9)39 (12)
Dane Cruikshank0
Matthias Farley18 (8)19 (16)37 (24)
Numbers in ( ) are additional ST snaps

My first question, is Jamal Carter a safety or an inside linebacker? Snap counts I see listed by the media after the game have him at ILB, but from what we have seen where his snaps actually are, it has been at free safety. Carter himself has shown some explosiveness and even recorded an interception in the second preseason match. He also left a mark on a Bears player that will be felt for a while. Are flashy plays like that enough? I don’t think so.

With Matthias Farley back, Clayton Geathers and Bradley McDougald saw their snap counts shrink. Farley also got a lot of action on special teams, where he was primarily signed to play. All the safeties listed above logged at least two games, and he had the most balance between defense and special teams. I am not entirely sold that it is the right move, but I think Farley is gonna make this team as either the 4th or 5th safety because of that.

Geathers and McDougald were two of the worst three graded defenders of the night, for what it’s worth, according to PFF. They did not build on their preseason debuts in Tampa, and that was such a disappointment. I think they left the door open just enough for Farley and Carter that their roster spots are both in jeopardy.

Comments

  1. Hey, you skipped the O-line! I have to think if Aaron Brewer isn’t ready, center is the number 1 spot they will be looking for on cut down day.

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