NASHVILLE – Two of the Tennessee Titans’ starting offensive linemen were injured during Sunday’s victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Only one returned to the field and finished the contest. And only one was able to practice Wednesday, when the team began preparation for this Sunday’s contest at Carolina.
They weren’t the same one.
Center Ben Jones and left guard Rodger Saffold were each listed on Wednesday’s injury report with concussions. Jones was one of three Tennessee players who did not practice. Defensive tackle Jurrell Casey (shoulder) and tight end Delanie Walker (ankle) also sat out the day’s session.
Saffold was one of six listed as limited participants.
Yet it Saffold, who was unable to get back on the field against the Buccaneers. He was injured in the first quarter – on Tennessee’s fourth offensive play – and did not return to the game. Jones had to come out early in the third quarter. He missed one play, after which the Titans punted. When the offense got the ball back, he was back in the middle of the line.
The Titans (4-4) have not had the same starting five offensive linemen for more four straight games this season. It has been Jones, Saffold, Taylor Lewan, Nate Davis and Jack Conklin for each of the past four but injuries during the last two games have shuffled that combination multiple times.
“They’ve dealt with some injuries, guys bouncing in and out of the game and other guys popping in,” quarterback Ryan Tannehill said Wednesday. “They’ve really just been steady. There hasn’t been a huge falloff anytime someone has gone out. So I’m really proud of the way those guys have fought through.”
Jones has played 120 consecutive games, which is tied for the longest active streak among all NFL offensive linemen and covers every game since he entered the league in 2012 as a fourth-round pick of the Houston Texans. He also has started 86 straight, the longest active streak for all centers and second among offensive linemen.
Those streaks look like they are in jeopardy.
The complete Titans-Panthers injury report for Wednesday:
Did not practice: Jurrell Casey, DT (shoulder); Ben Jones, C (concussion); and Delanie Walker, TE (ankle).
Limited participation: Malcolm Butler, CB (hamstring); Adoreé Jackson, CB (foot); Harold Landry, OLB (shoulder); Chris Milton, CB (ankle), Rodger Saffold, G (concussion) and Cameron Wake, OLB (not injury related).
Full participation: Sharif Finch, OLB (shoulder).
Did not practice: Mario Addison, LB (not injury related); Vernon Butler, DT (hip); Greg Little, T (concussion); Gerald McCory, DT (knee); Cam Newton, QB (foot); Eric Reid, S (shoulder); Curtis Samuel, WR (shoulder); Shaq Thompson, LB (ankle) and Jarius Wright, WR (ankle).
Limited participation: Christian McCaffery, RB (knee) and Christian Miller, LB (ankle).
Full participation: Brian Burns, LB (wrist).