NASHVILLE — One full week of training camp practices means depth carts and position battles are starting to develop. Edge defender Rashad Weaver in his second year with the Tennessee Titans has the opportunity to do something special with the unit that he is a part of.

More pass rush is always a good thing.

Tennessee’s defensive depth has not looked this sound in quite some time. With Weaver returning from a broken fibula that cost him all but two games of his rookie campaign, the Titans front projects well in a conference that boasts a wealth of quarterback talent. Pass rush was Tennessee’s best asset in 2021, and looks to be again in a new league year.

Weaver’s versatility gives him plus potential

Coach Mike Vrabel ended the Titans previous season on less-than-ideal terms.

Tennessee’s defense had sacked Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow nine times, and still could not overcome Cincinnati in the Divisional Round of the AFC Playoffs.

“Last year you talked about all the sacks we didn’t have,” Vrabel remarked at the postgame podium. “And you guys somehow think that sacks lead to victories. They’re great. Talk about how many we had this year, but I like turnovers and interceptions and caused fumbles. Maybe we had too many sacks this year.”

The last sentence is hilarious in retrospect, and the overall sentiment likely true.

It would have taken an overwhelming defensive effort to overcome quarterback Ryan Tannehill’s three interceptions that ultimately damned them. Even as the Titans front put on a show that day, exhaustion set in as the offense sputtered. Tennessee’s depth, at the time, was not good enough to sustain the necessary pressure. Weaver was not available when the Titans fell to the Bengals in January, but he hopes to give his coaches and teammates a reliable, versatile option.

He backs-up a group headlined by veterans Bud Dupree, Harold Landry and, depending on the match-up, Denico Autry.

Tennessee Titans outside linebacker Rashad Weaver (99) runs through pass rush drills during a joint training camp practice against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at AdventHealth Training Center Thursday, Aug. 19, 2021 in Tampa, Fla.

Titans edge depth will keep them competitive

In 2021, Titans outside linebackers accounted for 19 total sacks.

Landry, who led the team, accounted for 12 while setting a career high and ranked 10th in the NFL. Dupree spent all season, his first in Tennessee, recovering from an ACL tear in 2020 with the Pittsburgh Steelers. He appeared in 11 games, but started only six for the Titans.

With Weaver, Ola Adeniyi and a talented interior group, Tennessee can do some damage.

“The one thing that I always respected about Rashad (Weaver) when he was with us last year, healthy, was how hard he played,” said Vrabel. “There were things that weren’t perfect and there were mistakes. But he played with great effort and that’s always a great place to start. And I think what he’s done this year now is come back healthy in camp and started to try to look to define a role for himself. Working hard on special teams, I think that’s something (he) probably had improved in the offseason was his ability to help us on special teams or understand that. And for some guys coming out of college, that’s new, especially those defensive end types that transition to edge players in our league. They have to be able to play special teams.”

Tennessee will need all hands on deck with Josh Allen, Patrick Mahomes and plenty of other talented passers on the schedule.

Featured Image: USA TODAY Sports.