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How are fans feeling about the state of the team?
Beat writer Ben Arthur answered a couple questions submitted by Titans fans on Monday. To submit a question for a future mailbag, follow Ben Arthur on Twitter @benyarthur and check in after each game.
Do you know anyone with healing powers?
— TitanUp717 (@SkiwiM) November 29, 2021
Do you know anyone who has healing powers? TitanUp717, @SkiwiM
Unfortunately, I don’t. My best guess would be that the Titans don’t either.
Tennessee has been hit extraordinarily hard by the injury bug, with 17 players currently on injured reserve – including stars Derrick Henry, Julio Jones and A.J. Brown and high-priced pass rusher Bud Dupree. A few key contributors on the active roster also have missed recent games. All the injuries have resulted in the Titans setting the record for most players used in a single season — with five games still to play.
The Titans’ best healing power will be their bye week. Their next game isn’t until Dec. 12. Health will be prioritized during the time off. Coach Mike Vrabel said Monday the injured players will stay in town to work with the team’s training staff.
Jones can start practicing and be activated off IR as soon as Week 14 – the first week after the Titans’ bye – assuming his lingering hamstring issue has healed. Defensive back Dane Cruikshank (knee) can return for Week 14, too. Bud Dupree (abdomen) becomes eligible Week 15; Brown (chest) and cornerback Chris Jackson (foot) in Week 16. Henry’s timeline remains unclear with his foot injury, but he could return at the end of December or early January, ahead of the playoffs.
Are titans interested in signing free agents to help with the injury bug? Any notable ones?
— Riyaz Manjiyani, PT, DPT (@RiyazManjiyani) November 29, 2021
Are (the) Titans interested in signing free agents to help with the injury bug? Any notable ones? – Riyaz Manjiyani, PT, DPT
More signings could be on the table for Vrabel and general manager Jon Robinson. Amid the mounting injuries the last couple weeks, we’ve already seen heavy transaction days for the Titans. Last Tuesday, Tennessee announced 13 roster moves, which included the signings of five players who hadn’t been with the team (wide receiver Golden Tate and Austin Mack, defensive lineman Kevin Strong and running back Rodney Smith to the practice squad; defensive back Buster Skrine to the active roster).
Practice squad players typically get the first crack at helping. The big name to watch is the 33-year-old Tate, a former Pro Bowl receiver and Hendersonville native. Tennessee’s offensive skill positions have been the hardest hit by injury and Tate should be in the mix to play Week 14 against Jacksonville. Vrabel acknowledged that it was a tough ask to have Tate play against New England after just a few days of practice.
The pool of available free agents is never great this time of year, but there are some names to monitor.
If the inside linebacker spot remains an issue for the Titans — starters Rashaan Evans and David Long Jr. have missed five and three consecutive games, respectively, and rookie third-rounder Monty Rice was ruled out of Sunday’s game with an ankle injury — maybe Jaylon Smith gets a look. Still just 26, Smith was a Pro Bowl middle linebacker for the Cowboys in 2019. He was released by Dallas in October, then had a two-game stint with Green Bay.
At receiver, I think David Moore is the most appealing name. The 26-year-old, who appeared in two games with the Broncos earlier this season, was the No. 3 option for the Seahawks behind Tyler Lockett and D.K. Metcalf from 2019-20.
Three other names to watch: Cornerback Quinton Dunbar, wide receiver Tyrell Williams, tight end Trey Burton.
This article originally appeared on Nashville Tennessean: Tennessee Titans mailbag: Which free agents will the team add next?