The Tennessee Titans shed their conservative image this offseason, and wowed their fans by bringing in a new quarterback, running back, fullback, and tight end. Not to mention the numerous wide receivers that we discussed yesterday.
The team kept their promise…a complete overhaul on offense.
The arrival of Marcus Mariota, Dorial Green-Beckham, and David Cobb garnered all of the attention this offseason, but those moves are null and void if the offensive line doesn’t improve this year.
Key Acquisitions: Byron Bell (right tackle – free agency), Jeremiah Poutasi (rookie guard/tackle – 3rd round pick), Andy Gallik (rookie center – 6th round pick).
Last year the Titans struggled in two areas of pride for any offensive line…running the ball and protecting the quarterback. Tennessee finished the 2014 season 26th in rushing offense, and 27th in sacks allowed (50). As a result, the Titans’ carousel of qb’s took a beating.
That simply can’t happen with a rookie qb under center…a face of the franchise rookie qb at that.
Tennessee got younger on the edges, with elder tackles Roos and Oher making way for Lewan and Bell this season. Rookie third round pick Jeremiah Poutasi will be given every opportunity to unseat Bell…the pencilled in starter at right tackle heading into training camp. Poutasi also has upside at guard, and will presumably get looks there too if Bell wins out.
Tennessee could also get younger at center, if rookie Andy Gallik can wrestle the job way from current starter Brian Shwenke. He too, will get plenty of reps this summer.
Lewan, the new leader and spokesman for the line, said that he already sees an improvement in chemistry within the group. But with the daunting task ahead of them this season, they’ll need a lot more than that.
This year the Titans face seven of the top 13 overall defenses from last season (Buffalo, NYJ, Carolina, Miami, New England, Indy twice). And that’s not counting two additional games against JJ Watt and his Houston Texans.
Mariota’s elusiveness should help the o’line improve in the sacks department, and the influx of youth and athleticism on the line should help with the rushing woes.
The Titans brought in personnel this offseason to befit a more balanced attack, but they’ll need their revamped line to step up in a big way to get that done.