By John Glennon
Congratulations, at least for now.
That’s the message always delivered to players who make a team’s initial 53-man roster.
But it takes on even greater meaning this year for the Titans, who currently have nine players on the Reserve/COVID-19 list. Those players don’t count toward the Titans’ active roster. But when they start to return from COVID, some of the players – like quarterback Ryan Tannehill, center Ben Jones, guard Nate Davis, tight end Geoff Swaim and linebacker Harold Landry – are certain to reclaim roster spots at the expense of today’s 53. So be careful about buying the new house just yet.
Which position groups are likely to remain stable? Which are almost certain to change in days and weeks to come? Here’s a position-by-position analysis following the announcement of final cuts:
Number of players on active 53-man roster: Two
Names: Logan Woodside, Matt Barkley
How things may change: With starter Ryan Tannehill on the Reserve/COVID-19 list, the Titans didn’t need to make a determination for the No. 2 spot. But they will soon. Both Woodside and Barkley put up good numbers in the preseason. My guess is that Woodside will eventually get the nod. He has a far longer history in the Titans’ system, and he appears less prone to turnovers than Barkley.
Position: Running back
Number of players on active 53-man roster: Four
Names: Derrick Henry, Darrynton Evans, Mekhi Sargent, Khari Blasingame
How things may change: Congrats to Sargent, a classic training-camp underdog story. The 5-8, 200-pound Sargent, an undrafted free agent out of Iowa, consistently found holes to run through during his many practice reps and preseason snaps. He’s holding down his spot at least temporarily. But what happens when Jeremy McNichols – who posted 204 rushing yards for the Titans last year – comes off the COVID-19 list? Sargent outplayed him during camp, but will McNichols’ pass-blocking ability and experience with the Titans make a difference?
Position: Wide receiver
Number of players on active 53-man roster: Seven
Names: A.J. Brown, Julio Jones, Josh Reynolds, Marcus Johnson, Chester Rogers, Cam Batson, Nick Westbrook-Ikhine