Good news for Titans.
After a big scare, it appears that Tennessee Titans EDGE Derick Roberson isn’t badly injured.
On Tuesday, Roberson was one of two Titans that were carted off of the field during practice. While Nate Davis quickly had his injury dismissed as cramps, there was no word on Derick Roberson.
The assumption when someone gets carted off the field is that there is a major injury. However, it seems like the Titans were being as cautious as possible and they weren’t leaving anything to chance.
This morning Mike Vrabel said that Roberson wouldn’t go on I.R., but that answer is a little bit tricky. See, with the new COVID-19 rules, a player that goes on I.R. at any point in the season is allowed to come back in the future.
However, it is unclear whether that counts for players put on I.R. before the seasons, and I think the general perception of that altered rule is that a player has to make the active roster before that applies to them.
So, even if Roberson didn’t go on I.R. today, a real (but not serious) injury could have meant that Roberson makes the initial cut only to immediately go on I.R. That would have given the Titans time to revisit the injury down the line without condemning him to the bench for a year.
While that might still happen, a recent report from John Glennon suggests that we will see Roberson sooner rather than later:
The national media don’t know who Roberson is, and even some Titans fans might not think about Roberson a lot, but he is very important to this team.
This is why Roberson is important
People complain a lot about the Titans pass rush, but they tend to forget that the reason they didn’t end up with a lot of quarterback sacks was…well, literally by design.
75% or more of the Titans defensive play calls on 3rd and long, was to only rush 4 or (even worse) 3 players and drop the rest in coverage. Despite essentially refusing to rush the quarterback in the situation where you are most likely to get a sack, the Titans still finished 13th in sacks for the season.
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If Mike Vrabel and Shane Bowen decide to call plays like that again this season, then you have to have guys who can quickly win their one-on-one matchups. Harold Landry is a guy who was shown that, but players like Kamalei Correa and Vic Beasley usually do most of their damage on stunts.
With D’Andre Walker as a question mark, Roberson is the only other player who has shown glimpses of that potential.
After being cut from the initial roster and being put on the practice squad, Roberson finally got his chance for the Titans late in the season.
In just a handful of snaps, the rookie UDFA put up 3 sacks in his only two games of the regular season. He made life hard for Drew Brees by sacking him twice, and he did it in different ways winning once with pure speed and a second time on a stunt.
His quick-twitch is something that no one on the roster last year had except for Cameron Wake, and when Wake was healthy it made Harold Landry even better.
If Roberson can duplicate that impact, then the Titans will get two players with very high ceilings rushing the passer. However, an injury would have meant that you not only lose out on Roberson, but you also lose out on that boost to Landry.
So fans should breathe a huge sigh of relief right now, even if they didn’t realize how close they just came to missing a big part of that defense.