The Tennessee Titans trimmed their roster down to 53 today, and appear (for now) to have their team set for the regular season home opener next Sunday.
Justin Hunter, Bishop Sankey, and Dexter McCluster were released today, and while players usually empathize with their colleagues at a time like this, there are a few Titans players that are secretly jumping for joy.
Tre McBride – WR
Last year’s seventh round pick was a long shot to make the roster a month ago. Andre Johnson’s signing at the start of training camp looked like the proverbial nail in the coffin.
The Titans elected to keep six receivers this season, and at the beginning of camp there were six receivers on the roster with credible NFL experience (Andre Johnson, Kendall Wright, Harry Douglas, Rishard Matthews, Justin Hunter, Dorial Green-Beckham).
And that’s not counting rookie Tajae Sharpe, who was already listed as a starter coming into camp.
A practice squad player last year, McBride showed his versatility this summer as an improved receiver and special team’s player, and it was the latter that ultimately gave him the edge.
Head coach Mike Mularkey addressed the media following today’s roster cuts, and hinted that McBride’s value on special teams as a return man and gunner ultimately made Hunter and McCluster expendable. Hunter had no value on special teams and McCluster only had value on special teams.
Hunter was probably gone anyway, but the DGB trade and McCluster’s release had to put a smile on McBride’s face. His role increases tremedously this season because of their departures.
Austin Johnson – NT
The Titans drafted Johnson in the second round this season to serve as Al Woods’ primary backup at nose tackle. A pseudo-starting role they way Dick LeBeau likes to rotate his linemen.
Johnson struggled early in camp. He was also being outplayed by rookie undrafted free agent Antwuan Woods. And while Johnson continued to improve throughout the preseason, it was still surprising to see Woods’ release today.
A pleasant surprise if you’re Johnson.
Kendall Wright – WR
Kendall Wright was another player that let out a jubilant sigh of relief when he heard that Justin Hunter was cut…and not him.
Yes, Wright has a much better track record than Hunter, but general manager Jon Robinson has already shown to have little patience for players that he can not evaluate. Especially if he didn’t draft him.
Running back David Cobb was injured most of last season and missed some action this offseason with nicks and bruises. He was released. Offensive lineman Andy Gallik was also injured during most of his brief stint in Tennessee.
He was released.
Kendall Wright has been on the field one time since Mularkey took over as interim head coach last November. Once…and none under Jon Robinson’s watch after missing training camp and all four preseason games with an ailing hamstring.
Wright had to be elated to see that the injury bug didn’t bite him too. Had Hunter played better this summer, it might have.