NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Tennessee Titans think defensive back Desmond King can help their defense, and now coach Mike Vrabel says they will have to wait until possibly Saturday at the earliest to see him work in person.
Vrabel said Monday that he and general manager Jon Robinson talked and felt King could come in and help as someone who’s been an effective blitzer. The Titans (5-2) have only seven sacks this season, and only Jacksonville has fewer in the NFL.
The Titans made the move Monday, a day after a 31-20 loss to Cincinnati. It was their second straight loss after winning their first five games. Vrabel said King will be able to take part in Zoom virtual meetings until the defensive back passes through the testing protocols.
Tennessee currently has the NFL’s worst defense on third down and needs help in a banged-up secondary. Starting cornerback Adoree Jackson has been on injured reserve all season and is in the final week of evaluation to see if he might be activated before Sunday’s game with Chicago (5-3).
King could help immediately playing inside with rookie cornerback Kristian Fulton put on injured reserve last weekend with an injured knee.
“Once we get him here and are able to evaluate what he can handle within our defense and how quickly he can do that, then that would give us a little better indication,” Vrabel said. “But I would say by all accounts that that’s where he would start out.”
The Chargers said Monday afternoon the Titans sent them a sixth-round pick in next April’s draft for King.
A Jim Thorpe award winner at Iowa, King was an All Pro two years ago as a punt returner but has had issues with inconsistent coverage and on punt returns. He was suspended for the Jacksonville game last year for violation of team rules, and King complained on Twitter after a loss to Kansas City about playing time.
Chargers coach Anthony Lynn said Sunday that King was held out of the Chargers’ 31-30 loss to Denver due to a “team issue.”
“Sometimes a player needs a fresh start, and I wish him all the best,” Lynn said Monday. “But his time was up here.”
King has started 23 of 53 career games and has returned two of his four career interceptions for touchdowns. He also has 7 1/2 career sacks and has returned two punts for touchdowns. King has a career average of 8.9 yards on punt returns and 21.9 yards on kickoff returns.