Most of the questions surrounding the 2022-2023 Tennessee Titans will be allocated towards the offense.
It’s easy to see why.
The Ryan Tannehill dilemma will continue to be a hot topic. As well as the development of his potential future replacement in rookie quarterback Malik Willis. You can’t forget about the unknowns within the receiving group either, as well as the uncertainty up front along the offensive line.
Defensively, there aren’t nearly as many roster holes and role questions.
The defensive line is still potent, and will bring back a slimmed down, and maybe more explosive Jeffery Simmons. David Long Jr. and Zach Cunningham should create a lethal one-two punch at inside linebacker. The secondary looks secure as well, with both safety spots and at least two corner spots looking secure.
With such a dominant defensive side that lacks a lot of holes, you might shoo away any concerns you might have for this unit.
Well, unless you’re a worry wart that’s held up on the potential scenario of injuries.
Even still, if you’re not one that worries about injuries decimating a unit, you should still ponder the outlook of a significant defensive role that still doesn’t have answers for the many questions it has.
That role being the secondary boundary corner spot opposite Kristian Fulton.
Right now, there’s a lot a questions regarding who’ll be the guy to step into that all important role, as well as the level of play to be expected from whoever slots in as Fulton’s boundary corner partner.
The major candidate for the role is obvious, but he carries his own flames of concern that won’t be extinguished until his play begins to do the talking.
Caleb Farley is that major candidate, and he remains the favorite to take over the all important second boundary corner spot.
The talented second year pro out of Virginia Tech was another one of Jon Robinson’s bets on first round prospects with significant injury concerns. But unlike Jeffery Simmons — Robinson’s other first round bet — Farley couldn’t make any splashes that’d help others feel better about his potential moving forward.
From trouble getting on the field — either due to injury or the Titans’ staff opting to not play him — to the injury bug biting him once again, Farley’s rookie season was one made of nightmares, not dreams.
However, the trend has been a little more positive for Farley this off-season.
His rehab process from his season ending injury last season has gone well, a process that needs to avoid any setbacks in order for Farley to build on what he experienced last season. Secondly, the Titans’ staff has raved about the progress Farley has made on the field. This is the kicker, mostly because Farley’s play was mediocre at best whenever he did get snaps last year.
With such a potent off-season combo present, any betting man would feel good about Farley’s outlook as an important piece for this vastly improved unit.
Barring any unforeseen circumstances though.
But that’s the unfortunate case with Farley though. Since his college days, injuries have become the unforeseen circumstances that have killed Farley’s chances to consistently show his worth on the field.
With such a negative injury history, can the Titans truly count on Farley to deliver the goods?
That remains to be seen.
If the Titans want to count on Farley, they’ll have to hold out hope that his injury situation doesn’t become a constant headache. If it does, then the staff will have to face the idea of shuffling their corner rotation however they see fit.
We saw how that scenario played out last season, and while it did breed some much needed success, it’d be foolish to expect that same amount of life saving play once again.
Buster Skrine and Roger McCreary are other depth options the Titans could rely on if Farley’s second season doesn’t meet expectations. And while the Titans like both of them, it’s safe to assume they’d rather see Farley healthy and playing well, rather than leaning on a veteran corner that’s bounced around the league, and a rookie corner that hasn’t played a snap yet.
If the Titans want to truly unlock a new level defensively — which is something they truly have the talent to do — then they need Farley to stay healthy and contribute whenever he’s on the field. That might seem a bit farfetched, but if you envision a corner as talented as Farley playing well within a unit that’s shown flashes of impressive dominance in the past — then the idea of Farley being the key himself doesn’t seem so crazy.
However, if Farley can’t put it together on the field, or his injury issues flare up again, then this unit will have no choice but to kick off another game of musical chairs at an important spot defensively. And we all know this defense doesn’t need that.
Mostly because the seesawing of quality at corner did the Titans zero favors last season. As well as the fact that this team might need to lean heavily on their defense, due to the offense holding an unpleasant amount of uncertainty.
The final deduction
There’s no concrete solution for the Titans’ current secondary corner dilemma.
They can depend on Farley, and their depth if Farley’s injuries come back to surface once again. But both plans have consequences that’ll make this spot stick out like a sore thumb if they don’t work out.
We won’t know if these plans will end well for the Titans until the season starts. Which roughly begins in a month and a half from now.
Until then though, the concerns for this crucial spot within the Titans’ defense will keep kicking.