The Titans defense desperately needed help at the second level, so claiming former Texans linebacker Zach Cunningham has to be a massive gift.
A two-game losing streak can require some sort of “jolt to the arm,” and that’s precisely what the Tennessee Titans can expect to receive after claiming former Houston Texans linebacker Zach Cunningham off waivers on Thursday.
Cunningham, the 27-year-old second-round pick of the Texans back in the 2017 NFL Draft, was waived earlier this week because of missing a mandatory COVID-19 test.
And while it might be understandable why Houston would want to insist upon team-wide discipline, the nature of being a two-win team suggests it’s in need of talent first and foremost.
Tennessee has talent. Now, it gets more.
Cunningham led the NFL last season in tackles with 164, going along with three sacks and seven tackles for a loss. While he’s been somewhat less impressive this season, tallying only 67 tackles over 10 games, it’s important to recognize the context and just how bad the Texans have been this season.
On both sides of the ball.
Titans needed Zach Cunningham for defensive reinforcement anyway
This is an important get for the Titans, who have dealt with injuries at a slew of positions anyway this season.
Justifying the Cunningham pickup, though, is the fact starting linebacker David Long has already missed three consecutive games with a hamstring injury, while rookie linebacker Monty Rice is shelved on injured reserve and could potentially miss the rest of the season.
Fellow linebacker Rashaan Evans has also been banged up this year, too, and hasn’t played since Week 7.
Tennessee is, of course, familiar enough with Cunningham after having to go up against him twice a year within the AFC South. Interestingly enough, Cunningham’s new team will face off with his old one to close out the regular season in Week 18, leading to some notable storylines aside from the biggest one centering on how high up in the playoff seeding the Titans will get.
More importantly, though, Tennessee should feel much more comfortable about its linebacker room with Cunningham now aboard.