The Tennessee Titans’ signing of Brent Urban this offseason just went from quiet to important.
After the list of players starting out training camp on the PUP list was released, it’s clear as day that the Tennessee Titans’ signing of defensive lineman Brent Urban went from quiet to important.
The biggest name on that list was fellow defensive lineman Jurrell Casey, who is starting off camp on the PUP list while he continues to recover from an MCL injury he suffered in Week 16 of last season. It also kept him out of the Pro Bowl.
Now, the disclaimer: you DO NOT replace Casey.
He’s one of the best defensive lineman in the sport and has totaled five sacks or more in each of the past six seasons (career-high 10.5 in 2013). Casey was recently named to the NFL Top 100 list for the fourth time in his career.
He is once again a vital part of a Titans pass-rush and run defense that both need to improve from a year ago. If Casey is out for longer than expected for any reason and not ready for Week 1, it will be a huge blow to the Titans’ defense.
If Casey misses time, Urban is the No. 1 candidate to fill in.
As our own Will Lomas pointed out earlier in the offseason, there wasn’t much fanfare around the signing of the 6-foot-7, 300-pound Urban. The Titans picked him up in the middle of the draft and added him to their stable of lineman.
One of the reasons Urban was added was because of poor defensive line play that occurred next to Casey. Both Austin Johnson and DaQuan Jones were lackluster in 2018, and the Titans needed to bring in a new face to potentially shake things up.
Urban was a great fit, especially because he has experience playing in defensive coordinator Dean Pees’ system from his days in Baltimore. For the Ravens, Urban totaled 3.5 sacks and 52 combined tackles in 41 career games (19 starts) at both defensive end and tackle.
Urban’s versatility means he’s a threat to both Johnson and Jones along the defensive front. And, if he’s going to fill Casey’s spot for any amount of time, Urban has the chops to be a pretty solid solution for the time being.
In 2018, Urban showed he can pressure the quarterback. He only had half a sack, but he also added 22 QB hurries, which by the way is almost double the 12 combined QB hurries Johnson and Jones had.
Urban’s 15 stops (tackles for loss or near the line of scrimmage) from last season are also an added bonus to the Titans’ run defense. It’s clear Urban can possibly fill two different needs for Tennessee in 2019.
Whether it be for an injured Casey to start the season as a stopgap, or as an upgrade in replacing either Jones or Johnson for an entire season, Urban could be the kind impact player the Titans defense needs this season.
Sometimes the quietest offseason move can end up being one of the most important.