The Tennessee Titans nearly pulled off an upset that no one expected against the Kansas City Chiefs last Sunday night.
Even with the threat of the pass nonexistent, Tennessee, behind backup quarterback Malik Willis, was two plays away from winning on the road.
Now the Titans, who had won five straight before losing at Kansas City, may have starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill back for Sunday’s home game against the Denver Broncos. Tannehill has missed the last two games with an ankle injury but has been practicing on a limited basis this week.
He said Wednesday he is seeing some improvement. “Definitely feeling the progress now, so that’s exciting,” he said. “Going to be dealing with pain tolerance for a while. It’s definitely testing my patience, doing everything I can to help it heal.”
Tennessee (5-3) wasn’t lighting it up in the passing game with Tannehill healthy and it got worse with Willis under center. He has thrown for 135 total yards in two games but the Titans were able to ride the running game to a win at Houston in Week 8.
Derrick Henry has shouldered the load, rushing for 334 yards and four touchdowns the past two games. Last year, Tannehill had A.J. Brown to throw to for big plays, but Tennessee lacks a big-play wide receiver this year. Help could be on the way, however. Rookie Treylon Burks, who has been on injured reserve since suffering a toe injury in Week 4, is eligible to be activated.
“We’ll just have to see where he is physically,” coach Mike Vrabel said of Burks. “He’s worked extremely hard to stay in shape and condition, take care of his body, lift. I will say that whenever he’s ready, I’m excited for him to get back out there, and we’ll see where that is this week.”
Denver (3-5) is coming off a bye week and some roster turnover. The Broncos traded star linebacker Bradley Chubb to Miami before the deadline and got a 2023 first-round pick, a 2024 fourth-round pick and running back Chase Edmonds.
Chubb, a first-round pick in 2018, has played well when not sidelined with injury, so that will hurt Denver’s strong defense. Additionally, safety Justin Simmons didn’t practice Wednesday due to a knee sprain suffered in a win over Jacksonville in London on Oct. 30. Linebacker Baron Browning is hopeful to play despite a hip flexor that kept him out of practice on Wednesday.
While injuries on defense are a concern, the biggest issue for the Broncos is the unproductive offense. Denver has scored more than 20 points twice, with the most for a game being 23 in a loss to Las Vegas. Russell Wilson was supposed to be the answer at quarterback, but he has six touchdown passes in seven games.
“We have to find more touchdowns. That’s just the name of the game,” Russell said Wednesday. “We can find more touchdowns here and there. I think there are opportunities for us. That’s the biggest part of it all.
“I think we’re super confident in what we’re doing, where we’re going and our mentality. The guys have really put the work in.”
Outside linebacker Bud Dupree (hip) was one of six Titans who did not practice Wednesday due to injury. Linebacker Zach Cunningham (elbow), S Amani Hooker (shoulder), DL Jeffery Simmons (ankle), DE Teair Tart (illness) and DB Josh Thompson (knee) also missed practice. –Field Level Media