The Titans got one of their star players back from the reserve/COVID list today as defensive lineman Jeffery Simmons was activated back to the 53-man roster, but there was some bad news sprinkled in as well with rookie running back Darrynton Evans heading to IR with a hamstring injury.
Evans — who showed some really nice burst in limited action before getting hurt Tuesday night — will be out for a minimum of three weeks. In the meantime, expect Jeremy McNichols to serve as Derrick Henry’s primary backup with D’Onta Foreman behind him as a candidate to be elevated from the practice squad.
Also included in the news from the Titans was a notice that safety Dane Cruikshank has been “designated for return” from injured reserve, giving him the chance to begin practicing with the team this week. He will need to be officially activated within the next three weeks.
However, the big news is obviously the return of Simmons, who was in the midst of a breakout campaign before testing positive for COVID last week.
Tennessee had five D-linemen active on Tuesday night — DaQuan Jones, Jack Crawford, Larrell Murchison, Isaiah Mack and Matt Dickerson. This group was able to get the job done but getting Simmons back is obviously a huge boost as they head into a divisional game against the Houston Texans this Sunday.
Simmons played his best football of the season against Minnesota the last time he stepped on the field. With all due respect to the other players at the position, Simmons adds a different dimension up the middle of this defense. The Texans will have to account for him on Sunday.
The Titans have now gotten 10 of the 14 players that were on the reserve/COVID list at one point last week back. Isaiah Wilson and Greg Mabin were activated on October 10th (though the team was given a roster exemption to hold Wilson out for one more game Tuesday night). Both Wilson and Mabin had tested positive prior to the full-blown outbreak two weeks ago.
Among the most recent outbreak, DaQuan Jones and Beau Brinkley were activated on October 11th after being placed on the list on September 29th — a 12-day turnaround. Similarly, Kamalei Correa went on September 30th and came off October 13th (13 days). Correa was of course traded to the Jaguars yesterday. Kristian Fulton went on October 1st and came off October 13th (12 days). Both Humphries and Batson went on October 2nd and came off October 14th (12 days).
It’s certainly possible that some players end up spending longer on the COVID list than others — but these returns are pretty tightly clustered around 12 to 13 days and that’s consistent with A.J. Terrell (12 days) and Cam Newton (11 days). If the remaining Titans players on the COVID list follow similar timelines, we should see them return on the following dates:
- Khari Blasingame: October 17th (Saturday)
- Corey Davis: October 19th
- MyCole Pruitt: October 19th
- Breon Borders: October 20th
This would mean that Blasingame would have a chance to return in time for this weekend’s game, but is cutting it much closer. Davis and Pruitt are probably out for one more week and then back for the Steelers game unless they are able to beat the average timeline.