On The Titans: Will Levis' Beatings, An Unwillingness To Shop For Help

Will LevisNASHVILLE, Tenn. – By the count of game statisticians, Will Levis has taken 34 hits as the Titans’ starting quarterback. 

At that rate, defenses will pop him 102 times in 11 games. He’s tough and he’s got resolve, but regular beatings get to guys. 

David Carr, Tim Couch, Josh Freeman and Joey Harrington are among the quarterbacks who might have grown into something but never had a chance because they got hit so much so early it changed their constitutions.

“Anytime you have a quarterback who shows that type of toughness and is willing to stand in there and not stare at the rush, I think everybody appreciates that and values that,” Mike Vrabel said. “That’s not the plan, that’s not the goal. Nobody wants that to happen. I’ve said this to our team since I’ve been here: When somebody misses a block or doesn’t go to the right ID or the right linebacker, it’s not the 7 yards on a sack or the 4 yards on a run that bothers me it’s the fact that somebody could get hurt...”

“We believe in Will’s toughness. We also believe we don’t need to challenge it as much as we have.”

Vrabel acknowledged he’s seen long-term troubles for some quarterbacks who’ve been hit a lot early and said he doesn’t have concerns about that for Levis.

“But I don’t want to challenge the idea,” he said.

Levis isn’t lingering on thoughts of pressure or lamenting what he’s had to endure so far.

“I’m just trying to do my job and I mean if there is pressure, there’s pressure,” he said in Tampa. “Just need to take it one play at a time, get up and just look to run the next play and execute. So no, I mean it’s part of the game and I just got to take what the defense gives me and make the right play.”

Shopping: Jack Gibbens has done a great job maximizing what he can be, and what he can be has not been enough often enough. He knows where to be and he’s not going to get beat by mental errors, but his limited speed is an issue.

In Tampa Bay, he played 27 snaps and the Titans tried the alternative, Monty Rice, for 19 snaps. Rice has speed, but not control or much of Gibbens’ positional intelligence.

He over-pursued the play when Rachaad White took a screen 43 yards for a second-quarter touchdown.

The Titans signed Chance Campbell to the active roster on Saturday, but he got hurt in pregame warmups and didn’t play. I don’t think he was a big part of the defensive plan, and if he was a solution he’d have been in games long ago.

The inside linebacker situation brings up a question I’ve often had at other positions: Why don’t the Titans shop other teams’ practice squads for help?

Surely there is an inside linebacker they liked in a recent draft among the 496 players on other team’s practice squads who they could bring in, coach up and use in two or three weeks. Why do the Titans marry themselves to their roster this way?

Do Ran Carthon and the pro personnel department take Vrabel tape and say, “Look at these three better options, let’s sign one?” 

Is Mike Vrabel content with what he has? 

Why is that not happening? Because Gibbens is incredibly likable? Because Rice was over-drafred?

Kuharsky megaphoneThe Titans have two underwhelming options. They should be looking for a third.

Vrabel cited the Oct. 25 claim of K’Von Wallace on waivers from Arizona and said the Titans have added guys from the practice squad and have regular workouts.

The practice squad is more inside help. And workouts are for guys who are outside the league, the best guy ranking as 497th when you consider the players on practice squads around the NFL.

The Titans have added one whole outsider to their 53-man roster since the season started. That suggests a level of contentment with the roster that’s just hard to comprehend.

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