Tennessee Titans could face a depleted New York Giants defense
By Will Lomas
When the Tennessee Titans host the New York Giants on Sunday, there is a chance that Brian Daboll’s team is missing two of their most exciting young talents.
In April the Giants made a splash in the draft when they selected offensive tackle Evan Neal and EDGE Kayvon Thibodeaux in the top-10. While Neal looks ready to go at right tackle, the Giants need to look at the big picture when it comes to Thibodeaux.
The pass rusher was getting upfield on a play against the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 2 when he was hit with a low block from a pulling tight end. As scary as the hit looked, the former Oregon Duck found his way to the sideline and avoided a major injury.
Still, he isn’t completely healthy and there is no reason to rush him back against a non-conference opponent that is as physically punishing as the Tennessee Titans are.
He isn’t the only young EDGE who could miss the opener vs the Tennessee Titans as Azeez Ojulari could miss the game as well according to the latest news.
If both EDGEs do miss time, what does that mean for the Tennessee Titans?
This could be the perfect storm for the Tennessee Titans offensive line
Not to disrespect any professional athlete, but if the New York Giants were without their two best pass rushers then the Giants would have to heavily lean on Jihad Ward and Oshane Ximines.
That would make the day much easier for a Tennessee Titans offensive line that hasn’t had a real chance to gel together because of how Mike Vrabel managed the preseason games.
Not only would this help make the pass protection reps easier for rookie right tackle Nicholas Petit-Frere, but it could even allow the Titans to move Austin Hooper and Chig Okonkwo around to play bigger roles as receivers.
Being thin on the front seven also means that the defense is going to feel the Titans’ style of offense wear them down a lot faster than normal. It is a massive shift going from two-hand touch in training camp and trying to tackle Derrick Henry in live action.
You never want to cheer for injuries, but it is hard to argue that this could be an excellent way for the Titans’ offensive line to build their chemistry quickly against real competition without it being as much of a trial by fire as it could have been.
Time will tell who suits up on Sunday, but either way the Giants aren’t going to make it to Nashville with their best pass rush.