Defensive Ends (Derrick Morgan, Lavar Edwards)
Two of the Titans’ four projected starting defensive linemen won’t participate in this game. Those players are Sammie Lee Hill and Ropati Pitoitua. Fifth-round rookie Lavar Edwards will get his first start. Edwards was a reserve defensive end who was behind Barkevious Mingo and Sam Montgomery on the LSU depth chart.
Can Derrick Morgan, Edwards or any of the defensive linemen generate pressure against an unstable Falcons offensive line? One of Atlanta’s biggest uncertainties comes at right tackle. They lost preseason starter Michael Johnson to a fractured fibula and dislocated left ankle.
Four of the Titans’ top five linebackers have been ruled out. Akeem Ayers, Zach Brown, Colin McCarthy and Zaviar Gooden are all inactive. This creates a lot more opportunities for Patrick Bailey, Scott Solomon and Jonathan Willard.
An impressive performance from either of these players may result in a Week 1 roster spot. Will Moise Fokou retain the starting middle linebacker job? McCarthy’s injury history cost him his job—at least for the short term. If Fokou wants to keep it, then he’ll have to play well.