Instead of the normal five or six captains, the Tennessee Titans decided to go with a whopping seven team captains for the 2023 season. Those captains were:
Ryan Tannehill, QB
Derrick Henry, RB
Aaron Brewer, C
Jeffery Simmons, DT
Azeez Al-Shaair, LB
Kevin Byard, S
Morgan Cox, LS
The most surprising name on that list is Azeez Al-Shaair. Even though we didn't get to see very much of him during the preseason, Al-Shaair has gotten rave reviews from people attending training camp this year.
Another under the radar addition by the Tennessee Titans
A free agent linebacker formerly of the San Francisco 49ers, Al-Shaair was an addition that made perfect sense considering the inside information new Tennessee Titans GM Ran Carthon, had on him. He filled a need left behind by David Long Jr., and he seems to be a much more steady presence in the position.
Still, it is surprising that Al-Shaair got the nod over other defensive players like Harold Landry, Denico Autry, and Amani Hooker. Not to take anything away from Al-Shaair, it just seems like those players have more seniority on the team and have a larger body of work than the linebacker.
One reason to explain this might be the voting process.
While Mike Vrabel said that the captains were chosen by a player vote, it seems possible that this season the team was told to pick one person from each "position group" (QB, RB/TE/WR, OL, DL/EDGE, LB, DB, ST) and vote for that person.
It makes sense that the Tennessee Titans would do it this way because of all of the turnover in the locker room over the last six months. Paul Kuharsky noted that 45% of the final roster (24 players) are new additions.
While it seems strange to limit the voting like that, it is the only way that I can really explain why Al-Shaair got the nod over the other players I mentioned earlier. Still, that shouldn't take anything away from Al-Shaair who has been impressive both on and off the field for the Tennessee Titans.
He is someone to keep an eye on throughout the season because he is on a one-year contract with the Tennessee Titans. If he thrives early, it might open the window for the Tennessee Titans to try to figure out a possible extension before the season ends.