Concussions Create a Potential Shortage at Wide Receiver

Corey Davis, Kalif Raymond in the NFL concussion protocol after being injured in loss to Saints

NASHVILLE – Two head injuries. One position.

That is the situation the Tennessee Titans face as they look ahead to Sunday’s regular season finale against the Houston Texans.

Wide receivers Corey Davis and Kalif Raymond are in the league’s concussion protocol as a result of injuries sustained in Sunday’s loss to the New Orleans Saints. Their availability for the next contest will be determined as the week progresses.

“You know how we feel about that,” coach Mike Vrabel said Monday. “We take that seriously. Whatever the doctors say is what they’ll do, and they’ll work their way through it.”

The Titans currently have six wide receivers on the active roster but one, Adam Humphries, has missed the last three games with an ankle injury.

Given the uncertain nature of concussions, therefore, it is possible that only three will be available to play against the Texans, which would necessitate a roster move. The practice squad includes just one wide receiver who has been with the team for any significant period of time. That is Rashard Davis, who has spent time with four different franchises but never has appeared in a regular season NFL contest.

Davis was injured in the opening minute of the fourth quarter, when he laid out to try and catch a deep pass down the left sideline. He came down hard and required immediate attention from the team’s trainers and was taken to the locker room a short time later.

Raymond was injured on what was arguably the most important – and controversial – moment of the game.

The Titans got the ball down by three (31-28) with 4:23 to play. On first-and-10 from the Tennessee 38, quarterback Ryan Tannehill connected with Raymond on a deep slant. Shortly after he caught the ball for a 22-yard gain, safety C.J. Gardner-Johnson hit him, knocked the ball loose and recovered the fumble, which he returned 37 yards.

Vrabel expressed his belief immediately after the game that the Saints should have been assessed a personal foul because Gardner-Johnson’s initial contact was with his shoulder to Raymond’s head. To make matters worse, Raymond’s head hit hard when he went to the ground.

“I saw a defenseless receiver get hit in the head and neck area,” Vrabel reiterated Monday. “That’s what I saw the first time and third time and fifth time.”

Six plays later the Saints scored the touchdown that put the game out of reach.

Davis had three receptions for 40 yards before he was injured. He is the Titans’ second-leading receiver with 39 catches for 557 yards and two touchdowns.

Raymond had two receptions for 32 yards and has nine receptions for 170 yards and one touchdown on the season. He has been the Titans’ primary kickoff return man since Week 8 and has doubled as punt returner during Humphries’ absence.

Now, the Titans, who can clinch a playoff berth with a victory against the Texans, might not have either one Sunday at Houston.