NASHVILLE – It is possible that the Tennessee Titans will have their full complement of inside linebackers for a game this season. Sunday against the New Orleans Saints at Nissan Stadium won’t be the one.
David Long Jr., Tennessee’s leader in tackles, is one of three players the Titans ruled out for that for that contest with the release of Friday’s injury report. Cornerback Greg Mabin and safety Dane Cruikshank are the others.
The Saints also ruled out three players. One is running back Alvin Kamara, who is the only player in the NFL this season with more than 500 rushing yards and more than 300 receiving yards.
Long will be sidelined by a hamstring injury. He missed the season-opener, also with a hamstring issue, but has played all eight games since and has amassed 66 tackles. Five times, including four of the last five contests, he has led the Titans or tied for the team lead in tackles.
His emergence as a central figure on defense coincided with the fact that Jayon Brown missed five games (Weeks 2, 5-8). Additionally, Rashaan Evans has been out for two (Weeks 8-9) and rookie Monty Rice has been sidelined for two (Weeks 6-7).
Evans is among three Tennessee players listed as questionable for the New Orleans game (wide receiver Julio Jones also was given that designation). He has missed the last two with an ankle injury that ended his streak of 54 consecutive appearances.
“That’s the name of the game, Evans said. “You’ve got to learn how to deal with adversity, whether it’s injuries or anything else. The things that you do and the work you put in up until the time you play, that will help you out with a better, smooth transition.”
Brown started in Evans’ place Sunday against the Los Angeles Rams and tied his season-high with seven tackles. Rice filled in a week earlier against the Indianapolis Colts, and he made seven stops, a career-high.
Evans is fifth on the defense with 37 tackles. He and Long presumably will be the starters when – or if – all four are available at the same time.
“When that day is coming – hopefully soon – we’ll see what’s up,” Brown said.
Until then, coaches will continue to look to whoever is healthy enough to play.
The complete Titans-Saints injury report for Friday:
Did not practice: WR A.J. Brown (knee), S Dane Cruikshank (knee), ILB Rashaan Evans (ankle), WR Julio Jones (hamstring), ILB David Long (hamstring), CB Greg Mabin (ankle), DL Jeffery Simmons (ankle), QB Ryan Tannehill (illness) and DL Teair Tart (groin). Limited participation: FB Tory Carter (hip), OLB Bud Dupree (knee), CB Chris Jackson (foot) and OLB Harold Landry (hamstring). Full participation: G Nate Davis (concussion), ILB Nick Dzubnar (knee), T Kendall Lamm (back) and T Taylor Lewan (knee).
Sunday status: Out – Cruikshank, Long and Mabin; Questionable – Evans, Jones and Tart.
Did not practice: S C.J. Gardner-Johnson (foot), RB Alvin Kamara (knee) and T Terron Armstead (knee/shoulder). Limited participation: WR Ty Montgomery (hamstring) and DE Carl Granderson (shoulder). Full participaton: none. Injured reserve: DE Payton Turner (shoulder).
Sunday status: Out – Armstead, Gardner-Johnson and Kamara; Questionable – Granderson and Montgomery.