Who Makes The Titans' Final 53?
By Mike Edler
NFL rosters are a little more than two weeks away from having to cut their rosters down to 75 players. The Tennessee Titans are no different than the other 31 clubs when it comes to hard decisions. The Titans have players that are fighting for their NFL lives in the coming weeks. This years choices, in particular, may be some of the hardest in recent memory. First, lets look at the Titans offensive players that could be looking for new jobs in the coming weeks.
Marc Mariani or Darius Reynaud:
The return man position is one of the key roster battles the Titans face this season. Marc Mariani had a Pro Bowl season in 2011 and followed that up with a gruesome leg injury in 2012 preseason forcing him to miss the entire 2012 season; enter Darius Reynard. Reynard had a stellar season in 2012 including two punt return and one kick off return touchdowns. Now that Mariani is back, the battle will come down to who impresses the most with the reps they are given. Through one game, neither has been impressive, but now Mariani has had a set back with another lower body injury. If Mariani cannot stay healthy, the team will have no choice but to cut ties and move forward with Reynard. If Mariani is kept on the roster, he will most likely be placed as the teams fifth or sixth receiver. If Reynaud is kept he will be moved to that wide receiver position. This opens up a spot for either Jalen Parmele or Jackie Battle.
Prediction: Mariani- Cut Reynard- Starter
Speaking of the running back position, Jackie Battle has been a pleasant surprise this preseason and has emerged as the favorite for the third running back position. Battle has out played Parmele on every occasion and this could be the easiest decision the Titans staff has to make. Parmale was brought in to be a change-of-pace back to compliment the tandem of Johnson and Green, but Battle has done more with the opportunities given. Parmele does have a relationship with new running backs coach Sylvester Croom, both came over from the Jacksonville Jaguars, but that may not be enough to save him. In a perfect world, both these running backs would be great additions to the roster, but with Johnson, Greene and Reynaud, it seems highly unlikely that both players will be kept.
Prediction: Barring any set back to Battle, Parmele will most likely be the man to be cut in the coming weeks.
When the Titans cut Nathan Enderle it was clear that they have little need for much depth at the quarterback position. Three year player Rusty Smith could be the next quarterback on the block. Smith has been a fan favorite, often greeted with a loud RUSTY every time he sees action. This year, however, he is still a third string player behind Locker and Fitzpatrick. With so much money already devoted to the position, it doesn't seem likely the Titans will use a valuable roster spot on a project quarterback. Going into the season with only Locker and Fitzpatrick is a smart move considering the depth the Titans want to have at certain positions. With roster spots as valuable as ever for the Titans, it looks like this is the perfect time to let Smith go and use the opening on someone who can help the team now.
Look out for my defensive cut predictions in the coming days.