NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Tennessee Titans have ruled out a slew of starters for Thursday night’s game against the Dallas Cowboys. Pro Bowl defensive tackle Jeffery Simmons (ankle) headlines a group of four defensive starters who were ruled out including safety Amani Hooker (knee), outside linebacker Bud Dupree (pectoral), inside linebacker Zach Cunningham (elbow). Outside linebacker/defensive end Denico Autry is doubtful.
Tennessee’s offense could be without Pro Bowl running back Derrick Henry, who is listed as doubtful because of a hip injury sustained in Saturday’s 19-14 loss to the Houston Texans. Right tackle Nicholas Petit-Frere (ankle) and Ryan Tannehill (ankle) are the only offensive starters listed as out. Tannehill had surgery on his ankle last week, leaving rookie Malik Willis to start the final three games of the season.
Coach Mike Vrabel’s team is in the middle of a five-game losing streak. While a win against Dallas would do wonders for morale, the Titans find themselves in a win-and-in situation next week against the Jacksonville Jaguars regardless of Thursday’s outcome.
That is why the Titans will sit some players to have them as healthy as possible for the season finale with the AFC South Division title on the line. Vrabel said the team will determine which players could be in danger of a setback and need to rest during a short week.
“You make a decision that is in the best interests of the football team,” Vrabel said. “For the most part, when you talk about things like this week, we have to put a team together here. We have to go out there and win. You can only have so many guys active each and every week.”