The Tennessee Titans defense suffered a blow Sunday with the loss of cornerback Logan Ryan in Sunday’s game with a broken left fibula.
With Ryan out, the Titans will have to do some shuffling in the secondary. That means that Malcolm Butler will likely move back into the starting lineup in the base defense alongside Adoree’ Jackson. Butler has played better of late after struggling in coverage the first half of the season.
But in the nickel package, the Titans’ depth will be tested. It primarily means that third-year pro LeShaun Sims, who has held his own when called upon in previous seasons, will move back in as the third cornerback in sub-packages. Sims will play primarily on the outside, which means that Jackson could move inside to the slot in that package.
Sims, who has had his standout moments in his Titans career, sealed a win over the Texans last year with an interception, and also had a key pick as a rookie in a game against the Kansas City Chiefs that helped in that win.
“To be honest, it’s just like any other week. I’ve still got to prepare. You watch as much film as you can, and because it’s a shorter week, meet more with the coaches and then just go out there and execute on game day,” Sims said.
But with his track record of being able to come off the bench and contribute when injuries occur, Sims says he is comfortable and confident.
“It’s definitely a comfort thing, coming from rookie year till now and being able to come in and step in and being ready for the call. It’s what I’ve been doing all year, just being ready and waiting for the call, and now it’s about going out and executing,” he said.
Titans coach Mike Vrabel said that anytime a player has to be the so-called next man up, that he is expected to produce, as Sims has done.
“I think that we’re confident in anybody that’s here on our roster, or Jon (Robinson) and I wouldn’t have them on the roster. That’s kind of how it goes. The one thing that Logan (Ryan) did outside of his play and coverage and blitzing, was his communication,” Vrabel said. “So, we’ll all have to pick up the slack. Everybody out there. That’s what happens when guys go down in this league. Somebody has to go out there. Somebody has to take advantage of the opportunity and then be able to communicate, get lined up and help the guy next to you.”
While Sims’ defensive responsibilities will increase, his special teams role is not likely to decrease on game day.
“You’ve still got to be prepared and locked in on special teams too. That’s a big aspect of the game, and games