Inside linebacker is arguably one of the deepest positions on the Tennessee Titans’ roster. That depth will be tested Sunday in the opener to the 2021 season.
David Long was the only Tennessee player ruled out for the game against the Arizona Cardinals. Long did not practice Friday after having been a limited participant the two previous days because of a hamstring issue.
Additionally, kicker Sam Ficken was added to the official injury report Friday with because of a situation with his right groin. Ficken, a right-footed kicker, is one of four players listed as questionable.
Long started the final five games of the 2020 regular season plus the playoff loss to the Baltimore Ravens after Jayon Brown was injured. Long played well down the stretch and averaged eight tackles in those regular-season contests.
The expectation is that he will be a valuable situational substitute this season.
“He has come in and he has always been an instinctive player for us,” defensive coordinator Shane Bowen said recently. “I think he is more consistent right now, and on third down I think he brings a different element for us just in some of his coverage abilities in zone coverage, and some of his man stuff, and just being able to blitz. He is just a different skillset.”
Long’s absence likely means a larger role for rookie Monty Rice, a third-round pick in this year’s draft.
The complete Titans-Cardinals injury report for Friday:
Did not practice: TE Tommy Hudson (toe) and ILB David Long (hamstring). Limited participation: K Sam Ficken (right groin), CB Chris Jackson (hamstring) and WR Josh Reynolds (foot). Full participation: WR A.J. Brown (knee).
Sunday status: Out – Long; Questionable – Ficken, Hudson, Jackson and Reynolds.
Did not practice: TE Darrell Daniels (toe). Limited participation: None. Full participation: LB Dennis Gardeck (knee) and WR Antoine Wesley (illness).
Sunday status: Out – Gardeck and Wesley.