Wednesday's Quick Hits: Jonnu Smith Wants to Keep the TEs Rolling, a New Kicker Arrives, and the Titans Injury Report

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NASHVILLE -- The Titans returned to the practice field on Wednesday at Saint Thomas Sports Park to continue preparations for Sunday’s game against the Indianapolis Colts.

Here’s a look at three quick hits from Wednesday:

Jonnu and Co. Ready For More

The Titans placed veteran tight end Delanie Walker on Injured Reserve on Wednesday, ending his 2019 season.

Titans coach Mike Vrabel said Walker plans to stay involved and show leadership during the week in the building, but he’ll no longer be available on the field.

Tight end Jonnu Smith said Walker will be missed, but the other tight ends plan to continue doing their jobs.

“That guy, he has been through a lot,” Smith said of Walker, who has been inactive he last four games with an ankle injury. “It is unfortunate seeing that happen to a guy like Delanie. But we just have to keep stepping up to the plate.

“The mentality we have is we are not over here just to fill shoes, but to outperform. I know that is my goal and that is the goal of all these guys. No one is complacent, and we’re just going to keep working hard to do our part.”

While Walker has struggled with the injury, Smith has been solid for the Titans this season. The third-year tight end has 22 catches for 287 yards and a touchdown. Tight ends Anthony Firkser (8-131-1) and MyCole Pruitt (1-20) have played more in recent weeks as Walker was inactive while dealing with a hamstring injury.

“Delanie is a heck of a player and I have a ton of respect for him – he’s had an amazing career,” Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill said. “But he’s been banged up, so we’ve had to play without him unfortunately and guys have stepped up. I don’t think we’ve missed a whole lot of beats there with the way Firks has been playing and Jonnu and Pru, guys have really stepped up and balanced that load and they are talented in their own right.

“I don’t think we have the exact same player as Delanie, but among those three guys they all bring something different to the table and they give us a different way to attack in that they are all talented in different ways.”

New Kicker

The Titans signed kicker Ryan Santoso to the team’s 53-man roster on Wednesday, and the team intends to carry two kickers, including veteran Ryan Succop, on the roster heading into Sunday’s game.

Santoso worked out for the Titans on Wednesday morning. Santoso said he expects to be utilized on kickoffs, but Vrabel said his new kicker's exact role is very much to be determined.

“I am just happy to help out the team in any way possible, and do my part,” Santoso said. “I have a big body, a strong leg, and I’ve had a lot of great coaches who have helped me get to this position. … We’ll see what the coaches think, and I’ll do whatever they ask me to do.”

The 6-foot-5, 258-pound Santoso played collegiately at Minnesota. He spent each of the past two preseasons with the Detroit Lions, and he also spent time with the Montreal Alouettes of the CFL in September of this season. He’d been training in Birmingham, and said he’d had several tryouts during the fall before signing with the Titans.

At Minnesota, Santoso made 29-of-39 field goals, with a career-long field goal of 52 yards, which lifted the Gophers to a 39-38 win over Purdue in 2014. He also converted 76-of-77 point-after attempts and scored 163 points (29 FGs and 76 PATs). He kicked off 168 times and recorded 80 touchbacks.

Santoso also punted 144 times and averaged 41.8 yards (fourth-best in school history). He placed 46 punts inside the 20 and had a career long of 68 yards in 2017.

“I think it’s an awesome time to be a part of this program,” Santoso said. “I love it so far -- I can tell the culture is solidified here. The guys I have met so far are awesome. And getting that call (to come here) is a blessing. I am grateful to get a chance.”

Injury Report

Cornerback LeShaun Sims (ankle) and linebacker Reggie Gilbert (knee) did not practice on Wednesday.

Running back Derrick Henry (hamstring), safety Dane Cruikshank (ankle), cornerback Adoree’ Jackson (calf), defensive lineman DaQuan Jones (ribs), defensive back Joshua Kalu (ankle) and receiver Tajae Sharpe (hamstring) were all limited on Wednesday.

Offensive lineman Kevin Pamphile (knee) appears on the injury report, but he was a full participant on Wednesday’s session.

The Tennessee Titans practice on Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2019 at Saint Thomas Sports Park. (Photos: Donald Page)

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