The Tennessee Titans will have a few questions surrounding them when they head into the offseason, no doubt.
But instead of looking at all of them as a big picture (Jared Cook’s contract, Jake Locker’s possible shoulder surgery, coaches jobs being on the line, the play at safety, so on and so forth), I’ll break it down into bite size pieces. I’d hate to cause anyone any indigestion.
So let’s start with OG Leroy Harris. This season he came in with a knee that the Titans had to baby due to an offseason surgery. Certainly that wasn’t much help, but his play this season showed him as the weakest part of what is actually a fairly solid Titans line. With his injury making him be place on IR a few weeks ago, the Titans turned to veteran OG Deuce Lutui who they signed a week or two prior to his injury.
I liked the signing of Lutui when they brought him on. He was an experienced veteran who had been a long-time starter for the Cardinals. So far, he’s proven to be just as good as I thought he’d be.
In Lutui’s first two starts, which happened to be against top-5 run defense, RB Chris Johnson ran for 141 yards and 126 yards with a touchdown each game. Part of that comes from whatever the coaches did to fix the broken run game and CJ’s renewed confidence in his line, but part of it also comes from a line that doesn’t have one player dragging the rest down.
Lutui gets the rest of the season to show his worth with Leroy Harris being on IR.
Harris said last offseason that he didn’t feel too good about his chances of returning to Nashville once his contract expired in 2013. I think he was right. I don’t see any reason the Titans could come up with for wanting to re-sign him. His knees are a problem and his blocking won’t be getting any better with the shape they’re in. The Titans don’t need him. Deuce looks more deserving of the contract right now and I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Titans give it to him.
Harris is done in Tennessee as far as I can see. If Lutui keeps up the good work, he may get to keep that new position. I won’t go as far as to say he’ll certainly get it though.
We all know how weird these Titans coaches can be when it comes to this offensive line.
That’s it for our first glimpse into the Titans’ future. What do you think? Will Lutui do enough to earn a new contract and keep the starting spot?
You can find me on Twitter @JustinLStewart