The Tennessee Titans have had a strong pass rush over the past two seasons, although it took a nosedive towards the end of last year, mainly due to injuries. One of those critical pieces that was missing was Harold Landry, who missed the entire 2022 season with a torn ACL.
It was a particularly tough deal for the 27-year-old edge rusher out of Boston College, who suffered the injury just days before the start of the season in practice. Not only that, but he had just inked a five-year contract following a breakout 2021 season, so it was just a huge bummer all around.
One year later, Landry has recovered and been a full participant at Titans training camp, avoiding the PUP list altogether. Of course, you can only figure out so much from those practices, but indications are that he is looking the part and has dealt with zero setbacks.
He seems to be doing great on the surface and nobody doubts that he is, but we also have to remember that he has not played a football game in two years. That is not to say we should not expect a strong comeback season, it may just not be as pretty as we would like for it to be.
Harold Landry can adapt to thrive for the Tennessee Titans
One thing about Harold Landry that a lot of people do not realize is just how much he does for this Tennessee Titans defense. While he is obviously an edge rusher and his main priority is to get after the opposing quarterback, he does as much overall work as anyone on his side of the ball.
He is somewhat of a Swiss Army knife, and it feels like an added bonus that 2021 was when he had his best year in the sack department. Unfortunately, that might be the area where we have to temper our expectations.
Granted, Landry got his sacks in many different ways, but his most effective weapon was his explosive first step and his ability to counter that by stunting across the ace of the offensive tackle if he was oversetting to protect himself from that first step.
His lateral movement is going to be tested big time coming off of a torn ACL, so his sack totals -- the stat everyone will focus on most -- might not be very high early on this year.
But once again, it is not like he is not going to have an impact on the field. His ability to impact the run game should not be highly compromised, and the kind of coverage Landry is asked to do should not be either.
No matter how and what Landry struggles with in the beginning, it would be surprising if he does not return to being a lethal player as the year goes on. He is too young, too versatile, and especially way too hard-working to let one season-ending injury ruin his career.
Overall he has gotten better and better as his career has gone on, and that along with him being in his prime age should translate to an ability to bounce back from this setback. That is not to mention that his rehab lasted long, yet Mike Vrabel said all along that he was looking great, which suggests that they were very thorough and made sure he was 100% recovered.
You can almost guarantee that Landry will take a few games to fully return to speed, but just his presence will impact the Tennessee Titans defense. They have three other lethal pass rushers separate from him, and the fact that opposing offenses will have someone else they have to respect will be a headache for them.
Landry's return is another reason why edge rusher was an overblown need for the Titans this offseason, as a year without him must have made people forget how good he is. Do not freak out if he starts relatively slow this year, he is putting in some absolute work and will return back to form soon enough.