Tennessee Titans have Rashaan Evans back, but don’t expect him to start

ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 08: Rashaan Evans
ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 08: Rashaan Evans /

The Tennessee Titans get their first round pick back.

Rashaan Evans came back to practice today, which is great news for the Tennessee Titans.

Even if they are just easing him back in (which by all reports, they are) he is back on the field doing actual football things. This isn’t a video of him doing conditioning or watching plays, he is moving around and going through drills.

I think Evans is a great fit for this defense and he is about as run-and-hit as it gets from a linebacker. He is punishing between the tackles and as long as he isn’t asked to chase a running back down from the opposite side he can be great in run support.

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My issue with Evans as a starter is, while he can play the run well and he is athletic sometimes he doesn’t seem fluid enough to stick in coverage.

In my opinion, you can really only have one “run stopping” linebacker on a defense. You want to be flexible enough to cover athletic tight ends AND running backs without having to strictly play zone coverage.

So with that in mind, the Titans already have their starter that can do that: Wesley Woodyard. You would have a strong case to argue that outside of Kevin Byard, Woodyard was the defensive MVP and he consistently produced.

In my mind, even when healthy the Titans were going to have trouble keeping both Woodyard and Evans on the field at the same time.

The answer for me has always been to rotate Woodyard and Evans as ILB and move Evans down to rush the passer some given his ability to get to the QB. They would be more co-starters than a classic starter and backup.

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They can’t play together because that other spot really has to be saved for Jayon Brown who has been great for the last 18 months in coverage. With Evans gone, Brown has stepped up and maybe done more than any other front-7 player during the Titans preseason.

So, while you should be excited that Evans is back the good news is there is no rush. If they can get him back practicing normally by late next week with the season just around the corner then everything should be fine. In fact, given that he won’t have to do everything in this Titans defense, it should be easier for him to phase back in quickly.

All in all, as long as there are no month long setbacks there is a chance that this all blows over and that people forget that he was even injured if everything goes well.