With servings of pit ham, turkey, prime rib, as well as helpings of sweet and mashed potatoes, the all-you-can-eat dinner Wednesday night in the Tennessee Titans' cafeteria was fit for a king. Or more precisely, 375-pound offensive lineman Michael Jasper.
Though the offensive guard has shed 75 pounds since playing for Bethel University, an NAIA school in McKenzie, Tenn., Jasper still weighs 40 pounds more than Titans tackle Lamar Divens. Before Wednesday's signing, the 6-3, 335 pound defensive tackle assumed the title of most ponderous member of the Titans. Two days after a release from the Bills, Jasper agreed to terms with the Titans on Wednesday.
Several Titans scouts were impressed with Jasper's mobility while watching the Bills' 7-6 loss to the Redskins last week. The 6-4 offensive guard received spot duty with Buffalo's reserve offensive line in the latter stages of the loss.
“He moved well,” coach Mike Munchak said. “We brought some people in and he was the best of the group as far as an inside guy. When they're that big and they can move pretty well it's interesting to see.”
Jasper proved to be too much of a project to remain on the Bills' roster. Buffalo coach Chan Gailey indicated that Jasper struggled to grasp the playbook and didn't possess enough of a mean streak to cut it in the NFL.
"Michael's got to learn his assignments,” Gailey told the Buffalo News following last Saturday's Bills practice. “He's got to be more physical and he's got to continue to push through on assignments."
The Titans also agreed to terms on Wednesday with offensive tackle Jonathan Palmer. The 6-5, 338 pound tackle entered the NFL in 2007 as an undrafted free agent. Palmer has spent time with the Eagles, Steelers, Cardinals and Panthers – mostly as a practice squad member.
Tennessee now has the depth to rest 35-year old Pro Bowl guard Steve Hutchinson sporadically in practice. After the two signings, the Titans have 16 offensive linemen on the 90-man roster.
No sympathy for Otto: Offensive tackle Mike Otto has been ruled out for Friday's game at Tampa Bay, after suffering a dislocated right ring finger in Tuesday night's practice. Otto's finger got caught in defensive end Malcolm Sheppard's shoulder pads during a drill, and the fifth-year offensive lineman heard it pop.
“It was sideways, that's usually a hint that's something not right,” Otto said. “There was nothing that popped out of the skin, it was just hanging tight there.”
Otto will be re-evaluated before the team decides if he'll require surgery. On Wednesday, Otto wore a plastic bag over a splint on his right hand to avoid moisture. Offensive linemen Ryan Durand and Kyle DeVan have also suffered minor hand injuries during camp. When asked if he's receiving any sympathy for his fellow linemen, Otto didn't hesitate with his response.
“Absolutely none,” Otto said. “There is no sympathy among offensive lineman.”
McRath out vs. Bucs: Linebacker Gerald McRath missed practice for a third straight day with soreness in his knee. McRath will be rested vs. Tampa Bay on Friday night.
“We'll probably just rest him and give him the week off,” Munchak said. “It's one of these things where you give him a few days off and rest him. There's no reason to force him into a game.”
Tight end Brandon Barden has resumed running, but likely won't play until the Titans' final preseason game on Aug. 30. Barden hurt his hamstring in the opening week of camp. Cornerback Terrence Wheatley suffered a similar type of hamstring injury and also may be out until the preseason finale against the Saints. Defensive end Dave Ball remains out with concussion-like symptoms.
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