What Titans should do with Rusty Smith

August, 29, 2013
8/29/13
9:48
AM ET
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- We will see a lot of third-string quarterback Rusty Smith Thursday night when the Tennessee Titans wrap up their preseason with a game at Minnesota.

[+] EnlargeRusty Smith
Jim Brown/USA TODAY SportsRusty Smith, a three-year veteran in the NFL, could be a third quarterback option for the Titans.
But is that the last we will see of him?

John Glennon of The Tennessean examines the state of the Titans' No. 3 quarterback, and the case for him and against him sticking on the roster.

They’d like to keep him as the third quarterback. Should Jake Locker or Ryan Fitzpatrick get hurt, there would be built-in insurance. If the No. 1 and No. 2 are healthy, Smith would be a weekly deactivation, one of eight players of the 53 who don’t dress for a game.

Offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains called a third quarterback a luxury, but said it’s a luxury he hopes the Titans will have.

But Smith is in his fourth season. He was a sixth-round draft pick out of Florida Atlantic in 2010. He’s got practice-squad eligibility, and the ideal scenario would be to get him there, but if the Titans cut him, they run the risk of him playing for another team's roster.

Here’s an example of what the Titans should do, and it's based on Loggains' answer to a question about the likelihood of Smith getting claimed on waivers if he’s cut.

“I think he’s done enough in his career and shown the ability to throw the ball good enough that he would have the opportunity to get picked up by someone else, if some other team wants to keep three quarterbacks.”

By his fourth year, he needs to at least be able to challenge for the No. 2 job. The Titans swapped out one veteran, Matt Hasselbeck, for another, Fitzpatrick, this offseason. They didn’t think for a second about turning to Smith as their alternative to Locker. Loggains doesn't think another team would consider Smith as a No. 2.

Fitzpatrick has a two-year deal, so Smith wouldn’t necessarily graduate to backup next year either.

They need him on the practice squad, but there isn’t room for him on the 53.

If I’m the Titans, that’s the move I make. And if someone else snatches him up, well, my scouting department better have a list of a couple guys coming free who’d seize a practice squad opportunity and provide roughly the same things Smith does, even without the experience with the franchise.

Paul Kuharsky | email

ESPN Tennessee Titans reporter

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