Gosh, time flies, and at the same time, it can feel like it’s dragging by. The 4th of July feels like it was three months ago, and the month of August nears its end. The Tennessee Titans, like every other NFL team not named the Pittsburgh Steelers and Dallas Cowboys, had three preseason games on their slate before the attention turned to the now-17-game regular season.
If you haven’t noticed, shorter practices haven’t necessarily led to fewer injuries, and there, at the time of this story being published, are only two more tune-up games before the regular season begins.
There have been questions about whether the third game should serve as a dress rehearsal for the Titans starters or if they should play an extended period in the second game and rest in the third. Here’s an idea or, better yet, a question about all of this. Why is there a debate about whether this team should play at all? At this point, the best thing to do would be to rest these guys, right?
The Tennessee Titans must ensure the starters enter Week 1 healthy and rested.
Ask yourself a question. How many preseason reps does Julio Jones need at this point of his career? He hasn’t been on a practice field to take a rep since that uncomfortable-looking tumble he took a couple of weeks ago. If you hadn’t noticed, the Titans have been very careful with him since then. Does he really need five or six snaps in a game that doesn’t matter and won’t help the regular-season win-loss total?
What about Ben Jones, Derrick Henry, and Ryan Tannehill? Do they need to get that center-to-quarterback exchange down? Is a game going to improve their efficiency in that area now? We can all agree that Tannehill has had enough practice stuffing the ball in Henry’s gut right?
Bud Dupree and Caleb Farley were two acquisitions made this past Spring, two guys that are expected to contribute immediately this season. Their health was a huge question mark, but they worked hard and got on the field early. We went from asking if they’d be ready by the start of the regular season to ask if they might play in some preseason games.
The answer is no. Like Henry, Julio, and A.J., you can make the argument that had they been set to go by the start of the preseason, it would have been wise to mix them for a few snaps to get their feet wet. By now, the plan should have changed.
The best course of action now is to ensure that this Tennessee Titans team gets to the regular season healthy and in one piece. Now, the best course of action is to make sure these guys aren’t risking further time on the shelf by rushing back for games that don’t count. Tennessee will be fine but you saw how excessive injuries railroaded what could have been an even better season in 2020.
Let the stars rest. Get the young guys some playing time. Just make sure the starters are ready for Week 1 versus the Arizona Cardinals. That’s all that matters at this point.