There’s one major difference between the Tennessee Titans‘ two highly-drafted rookie cornerbacks, Caleb Farley and Elijah Molden, as things currently stand: comfort.
Molden, who stole the show in the Titans’ second preseason game on Saturday with eight solo tackles, two tackles-for-loss and an eye-popping sack, looks settled in and comfortable.
“I think that was just a case of a young player getting out there and getting into the flow of the game,” Titans head coach Mike Vrabel said of Molden’s performance in preseason game No. 2.
“There were a lot of things that he showed⏤just a high comfort level of a player who has been in that position most of his college career.”
Did Elijah Molden go through the OL’s legs on his sacks?
“What else am I supposed to do?” 😂😅 pic.twitter.com/2zo2eLgaNr
— AtoZSports Nashville (@AtoZSports) August 22, 2021
Farley, on the other hand, has yet to display a high comfort level.
He’s struggled, at times, to keep up with the speed and flow of opposing offenses during practices and Saturday’s game.
The Titans’ first-round pick looked especially out of place when he nearly gave up a huge completion to Buccaneers speedster Scotty Miller on Saturday; Miller beat Farley, but QB Ryan Griffin’s throw was poor.
Right now, Farley can offer the Titans’ defense his rare combination of size and speed, but not much more.
While the disparity of comfort between Molden and Farley is pretty sizeable, it isn’t terribly concerning. It’s also not surprising.
Before Saturday, the last time Farley played in a football game was Nov. 23, 2019. That’s a long time⏤well over 600 days⏤to go without playing.
Additionally, since then, Farley has gone under the knife twice for major back surgeries, the effects of which only recently began subsiding.
Farley missed the first week of Training Camp because he hadn’t yet been cleared by the Titans’ medical team, and he’s basically been playing catchup ever since.
“He hasn’t played football in a long time,” defensive coordinator Shane Bowen said. “He is on a pitch count, so he is working his way back.”
With all that Farley’s gone through over the last two years⏤missed time and serious injuries⏤it’s no wonder he’s a little bit behind the eight-ball just a month into his NFL career.
That’s why it’s far from time to sound the alarm on Farley or freak out. He will be just fine. He’s too talented not to be.
It will take some time, though.
“It’s going to be a process,” head coach Mike Vrabel said.
“We’ll just coach him up and just keep moving forward.”
Cover images: George Walker IV/The Tennessean