Veteran linebackers Keith Bulluck and David Thornton will be placed on Injured Reserve, Titans coach Jeff Fisher announced today.
Bulluck’s MRI revealed a torn ACL and the Titans decided to go ahead with surgery for Thornton’s injured pectoral muscle.
It didn’t look good when Bulluck left the field Sunday afternoon. It looked worse when the defense, which had played rather well until then, started having problems. The problems weren’t entirely due to the loss of Bulluck. The d-line had some injury issues and Michael Griffin was still on the field, both of which were contributing factors, but the defense had a 24-6 lead when Bulluck left and couldn’t hold that 18-point lead.
Bulluck’s backup, Stanford Keglar, had his problems. Ricky Williams scored Miami’s first touchdown, beating Keglar to the edge, and it wasn’t a fair matchup. Colin Allred also saw action and had problems.
I like Keglar and Allred, but the Titans really missed Bulluck yesterday.
By the way, I really like Keglar a lot better than Allred at Will. Allred may be a better all-around LB, who can play all three LB positions, but Keglar is a better Will.
I imagine we’ll see Tulloch and McRath as the two LBs who remain on the field in nickel. As a matter of fact, I wouldn’t mind seeing more nickel than usual for the rest of the season.
This is the final year on Bulluck’s contract so the timing is terrible for him. No big free agent contract. No way the Titans will place the franchise tag on him, which would at least pay him very well for another season.
Thornton has one year remaining on his contract, so that at least isn’t an issue for him.
Although he played well against the Colts, Thornton has been hampered with a shoulder injury and has missed three games, including the Fins. Gerald McRath had his first two career starts against the 49ers and Texans and didn’t play too well but it was valuable experience. He has performed better in relief of Thornton since then.
The injuries to Bulluck and Thornton are a body blow to the depth at linebacker. Stephen Tulloch is the only starting linebacker remaining. In addition to McRath, Keglar and Allred, snapper Ken Amato also has some experience at LB.
Josh Stamer, who was with the Titans in 2008 and in training camp this year, is available as a street free agent. He’s a good coverage man on special teams, which is something the Titans need right now, and could also fill in on regular downs if needed. His primary position is on the strong side.
We wish both Keith and David the best. They’ve given much to the Titans and will be missed in many ways.