Which 2 Linebackers Will the Titans Need to Rely On After Jayon Brown’s Season Ending Injury? – BlackSportsOnline
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Which 2 Linebackers Will the Titans Need to Rely On After Jayon Brown’s Season Ending Injury?

When you’re fighting for critical positions such as the top spot in your division, or one of the last few remaining wild card spots in your conference, above all else you should wish for health across the roster to be as good as it can be.

Unfortunately for the Tennessee Titans, the injury gods haven’t been too kind to them over the last couple of weeks. Jadeveon Clowney was placed on IR, starting guard Roger Saffold missed Sunday’s game with a painful ankle injury, and starting left tackle Ty Sambrailo left Sunday’s game with an injury that could potentially knock him out for the rest of the year.

The crazy part about this situation, is that these are just the most recent injuries that have impacted the roster. I haven’t even counted the major injuries to Taylor Lewan and Adoree Jackson — both carrying statuses as two critical pieces to this football team’s success.

Now, with the Titans gearing up for possibly their biggest game of the year this Sunday against Indianapolis, they’ll have to pull off a win without one of the best players on their defense.

Starting linebacker Jayon Brown suffered a gruesome looking elbow injury against Baltimore. That elbow injury ended Brown’s season, and has put the Titans in a bit of a pickle when it comes to coverage and versatility in the linebacker core.

But as always with these mishaps, the next man up mentality has to be adopted. Tennessee has a couple of options ready to step in and pick up where Brown left off, but it remains to be seen which of the 2 will be given the all important vote of confidence by this Titans coaching staff.

Who are these 2 players I’m talking about?

Let’s find out.

Will Compton

Compton is the obvious choice here to receive more snaps due to Brown being out. Compton hasn’t been a regular on the active roster this season, in fact, he’s found himself on the practice squad more times than not.

But when Brown went down with his elbow injury, Compton was the one who stepped into his spot, and filled it without any sort of significant problem. Now I’m sure the Titans would rather have a more modern linebacker mold out there, but at some point you have to make due with what you have.

Compton isn’t as mobile as Brown, nor is he as good in coverage, but he’s a smart player who’ll more than often make the right play and find himself in good positions on the field.

If Compton ends up being the preferred choice to replace Brown, then I’d probably keep him out of as many 1v1 situations in coverage as possible. He just doesn’t have the lateral quickness and pure speed to keep up with the modern NFL running back.

But he’s perfect for a run stuffing role, and is a guy that’ll be able to keep other players around him in position, ready to make plays.

He isn’t the perfect candidate, but he’s still serviceable.

David Long Jr.

David Long is probably the linebacker best suited to step up, and fill Brown’s role on defense in terms of skill set. Long is an agile, mobile linebacker that can step back and play coverage, but can still deliver some pop as a run defender.

He really came onto the scene during the tail end of the 2019 season, with his performance against Baltimore in the playoffs putting him on a track towards receiving an increased amount of snaps in 2020.

But we’re 11 weeks into the season, and Long still hasn’t carved out a true role on this defense.

It’s confusing to say the least.

Instead of sliding Long in as that 3rd inside linebacker behind Jayon Brown and Rashaan Evans, the Titans have opted to give those snaps to the likes of Will Compton and even Nick Dzubnar at times. Compton hasn’t even been on the active roster consistently, and Dzubnar is nothing more than a depth linebacker that primarily does his work on special teams.

No matter how you look at it, this Titans staff simply isn’t all that confident in Long’s game right now.

But that has to change, and it’s simply due to a matter of necessity.

Long is the only linebacker left on this Titans roster who has a skill set that can match up with the modern NFL running back, that’s the reality of this situation. We all saw how Nyheim Hines absolutely torched the Titans as a receiver 2 weeks ago, primarily on screens/dump offs and choice routes in the open field.

You don’t want Compton, Dzubnar, or even Rashaan Evans taking on that sort of responsibility. Especially Evans, since he’s rather late to react and somewhat out of control these days.

This is no time to fool around, you have to get Long on the field, period