You always remember your first one. First sack, that is. And last Sunday both Harold Landry and Sharif Finch recorded their first career sacks as rookies for the Tennessee Titans.
Landry's got much of the attention, since he also forced a fumble by Carson Wentz that helped the Titans get back into the game in their eventual 26-23 overtime win over the Philadelphia Eagles.
“Finally,” said Landry, the Titans second-round pick whom Jon Robinson traded up 16 spots to acquire when he unexpectedly slid out of the first round.
For Landry, draft day is water under the bridge, and he said he landed where he wanted, even if he didn't exactly land when he wanted. “Even before the draft, I knew I wanted to play for the Tennessee Titans. I loved it when (Mike) Vrabel came up and worked me out. I loved it on my visit here,” Landry said. “I knew I wanted to come here – first or second round, it didn't really matter. I'm here now and trying to make the best of it.”
Landry is back from a preseason ankle injury – spraining the same ankle that bothered him in 2017 at Boston College – and after missing the season opener with the injury, had been making an impact as a pass rusher, even before he got to Wentz on Sunday.
“I felt like I came close the first two games I played in. I feel like my goal is to keep getting better and better and to keep producing more and more each week. So hopefully with preparation this week, I can continue to take my game to the next level,” Landry said.
Landry certainly doesn't lack for confidence, nor does he lack the desire to keep improving.
“I have high expectations for myself. I know how talented I am, but I've just got to make sure I keep working and stacking days and getting better and better every day,” he said. “I'm happy I was able to get my first sack out of the way, especially going against such a good tackle and good offensive line.”
Meanwhile, another young pass rusher joined the sack fray on Sunday, as Finch, an undrafted rookie from Temple, got one of the Titans' four takedowns against the Eagles.
“It was amazing. I was ecstatic,” said Finch, who has been active for all four games thus far as a rookie. “More so, it just being my first sack is what made it so special to me. They slid away from me, and it was kind of one-on-one with the back, and I just came free.”
The players are not only happy to record their first sacks, but they were also happy for each other and now are eager for more as part of the Titans' pass rush rotation that has all five outside linebackers getting playing time on Sundays.
“It was definitely a cool experience, seeing him get his first an me get my first Now, it's just time to move on and keep getting better and producing more numbers,” Landry said. Added Finch, “I'm happy to get that first one and happy for Harold too to get his first sack.”
Even the veterans who are helping the rookies along by mentoring them are happy with their development.
“That's huge. That's always special,” veteran linebacker Brian Orakpo said. :I remember my first time, my first career sack. My first one was against (Lions QB) Matt Stafford, in week two of my rookie year. “They're playing at a very good level for us right now, and that's pretty special for them to get their first sacks.”