It’s not a good time to be a cornerback for the Tennessee Titans.
In the span of a few hours on Monday, the Titans lost top cornerback Kristian Fulton to injured reserve for at least the next two games and 2021 first-round pick Caleb Farley to a torn ACL he suffered against the Buffalo Bills. Farley will miss the rest of the season.
Then there’s Chris Jackson, who was injured twice against the Bills on Monday night and didn’t finish the game after leaving the field following his second injury, leaving Tennessee with just three healthy cornerbacks on the roster.
Of the five cornerbacks the Titans played Monday against the Bills, only two players -- Jackrabbit Jenkins (76 snaps) and Elijah Molden (72 snaps) – played more than 50 percent of the team’s defensive snaps.
Chris Jackson (36 snaps) and Breon Borders (15 snaps) filled in for Farley, combining for six tackles and two passes defensed. Borders also had an egregious pass interference call in the end zone against Bills receiver Steffn Diggs that led to a touchdown moments later.
With the Kansas City Chiefs and their No. 2-ranked passing offense coming to Nissan Stadium on Sunday, Titans head coach Mike Vrabel isn’t left with much time to decide how to replenish his secondary.
“The biggest thing is what have they been doing?” Vrabel said when asked about potentially bringing in free agent corners. “How much work have they been putting in? Where are they at physically? Also, where are they at mentally as far as picking up the scheme and how much work that requires in just a short amount of time. So, we’re looking at a lot of those things and working our way through them.”
Instead of looking externally for a solution, Vrabel mentioned it might be easier to promote from within as opposed to trying out possible free agents, potentially working out a deal and trying to squeeze them into one or two practices before Sunday.
Fortunately for Vrabel, the Titans have two players on their practice squad already familiar with Tennessee’s defensive system who could both slide into situational roles on Sunday – Chris Jones and Briean Boddy-Calhoun.
“Chris has been with us, [he’s] certainly somebody that we’ll look at,” Vrabel said. “[Boddy-Calhoun] has been with us for a while, been working and practicing. So, I’m confident that if those guys get an opportunity, they’ll do everything they can to take advantage of it.”
Jones, 26, has 41 tackles and six passes defensed in 22 career games, including six starts, between the Arizona Cardinals, Detroit Lions and Minnesota Vikings. In pass coverage, he’s allowed 479 yards and two touchdowns, and quarterbacks have a completion percentage of 66 when targeting Jones.
Boddy-Calhoun has significantly more starting experience with 22 career starts under his belt in 47 career games with the Cleveland Browns, Indianapolis Colts, Houston Texans and San Francisco 49ers.
The 28-year-old has 151 tackles, 19 passes defensed, three interceptions, four tackles for loss, six QB hits and three sacks in his five-year career. In his last season as a starter, Boddy-Calhoun allowed 579 yards over 16 games in pass coverage, allowing a completion percentage of 69.2.
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