The Tennessee Titans have some difficult decisions to make on their defensive line. They made a rather simple one when they released defensive tackle Shaun Smith on August 22, 2012. Smith confirmed this via his Twitter account. According to Smith:
It's been real Nashville time to c what team I will be on next but am thankful for everything and the lord will continue to bless me
Thanks for the love ppl gonna miss my young killers in the D line in my honor I should of made better life decisions lol keep grinding
This was an obvious decision when one considers the Titans' depth at defensive tackle. The Titans had at least five defensive tackles who would've been higher on the depth chart heading into 2012. Those players include Karl Klug, Jurrell Casey, Mike Martin, Sen'Derrick Marks and Zach Clayton. Leger Douzable also has the versatility to play inside. Rookie defensive tackle DaJohn Harris could make the practice squad.
A team needs only so many defensive tackles. Smith was supposed to be a run-stopper when he was signed as a 360-pound defensive tackle in 2011. That never happened. Smith had 25 tackles with two stuffs and one sack in 15 games. Smith became more expendable when Martin was drafted in the third round of the 2012 NFL Draft.
The Titans were respectful in that they didn't wait until they had to trim their roster from 90 players to 75 players on August 27. At 31-years-old, Smith needs the additional time to find employment before the season begins. Smith lost approximately 35 pounds this offseason as he re-dedicated himself to football. However, the Titans had already moved on with their younger and more-talented linemen.
Smith seems like a good man. I wish him the best.
The Titans are almost set at defensive tackle. My only question deals with whether Zach Clayton will make this team or if he'll be a depth casualty. Marks should be safe as he has had a strong preseason. This is also a contract year for Marks. Players who are on contract years have additional motivation because they're playing for big paydays. Just look at how one great performance resulted in a $26-million contract for Matt Flynn.
In addition to the previously mentioned August 27 roster cut, the Titans must trim their roster to 53 players on August 31.
Joshua Huffman graduated from Middle Tennessee State University as a marketing major in 2009. He's been a Middle Tennessee resident from 1986-88 and 2001-present. He lived in the Upper Peninsula and Northern Wisconsin from 1988-01 and for approximately eight months in 2009-10 as he completed a 20-game volunteer position with the USHL's Green Bay Gamblers. His favorite sports organizations include the Green Bay Packers, Chicago Cubs, Nashville Predators and Tennessee Titans. He can be found on Twitter HERE.
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