Prior to the start of the season, few Titans had arrows pointing higher than MLB Colin McCarthy, who was named a defensive captain after a superb rookie campaign in which he demonstrated a keen sense for being around the football and a real knack for making big plays in big moments.
Fast-forward nearly four months, and we hear McCarthy is back to square one, forced to again dispel the knock on him coming out of the University of Miami: A player with immense upside, but also an injury track record that couldn’t be ignored.
After missing his fourth consecutive game because of a concussion and eighth overall this season (McCarthy has also dealt with various lower-body ailments), we hear the Titans likely will be forced to seek reinforcements at middle linebacker in the offseason. To be clear: the club still loves McCarthy’s potential and thinks he has star qualities. However, his replacements this season, aging veterans Will Witherspoon and Tim Shaw, are nothing more than situatonal players and strong special-teams contributors on their best days, we hear.
The good news is that the other two-thirds of Tennessee’s linebacking corps, fellow second-year player Akeem Ayers and rookie Zach Brown, have provided encouraging signs that they are building blocks for the future. Unfortunately, McCarthy might not again fall under that category until he can consistently stay out of the training room and get back to being a dynamic player in the middle of the Titans’ defense.