Tennessee Titans starting left tackle Taylor Lewan has been on a non-stop roller coaster ride since the team selected him with the 11th overall pick in the 2014 NFL draft.
With the roller coaster now barreling downhill, and a new regime in town, could this season be Lewan’s final year in Nashville?
Fans were initially confused by Lewan’s selection in 2014 because the Titans had more pressing needs, as well as a quality left tackle in Michael Roos already entrenched as the starter. Former general manager Ruston Webster and head coach Ken Whisenhunt marketed Lewan as the left tackle of the future.
Webster and Whiz initially looked like geniuses, as Roos was lost for the year early in the season, and never returned. He retired shortly thereafter.
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It seemed as though the Titans wouldn’t miss a beat with Lewan as the new anchor of the offensive line. He talked tough, gave great interviews, and even had an entertaining weekly radio show.
He was promoted to team captain, and had a banner donning his image hanging from the stadium…a move reserved for the best of the best.
The former two-time First Team All American from Michigan was riding high.
Then, inexplicably, cracks started to show in Lewan’s game. He was routinely manhandled by quality opponents, he committed an alarming number of momentum killing penalties, and had more than his fair share of head scratching mental errors.
The same things that he said the team could not do during his numerous exchanges with the media, and I am sure that it started to irritate some of his teammates.
It certainly irritated head coach Mike Mularkey, who quickly removed Lewan as a team captain in one of his first moves as interim coach last November.
His banner has also been removed from Nissan Stadium, and replaced by linebacker Brian Orakpo.
And now, a new sheriff is in town…and his name is Jon Robinson. The Titans’ new general manager moved up in the draft to select tackle Jack Conklin with the 8th overall pick a few weeks ago. It could have very well been left tackle Laremy Tunsil if not for the now infamous draft night bong mask picture.
Conklin is slated to be the Titans’ starting right tackle this season, but as reported yesterday by ESPN Staff Writer Paul Kuharsky, Conklin is also getting plenty of reps at left tackle during rookie camp.
If you’re Lewan, then you should not look at the recent series of events as mere coincidence. Tennessee is sending a not so subtle hint that his days in Nashville could be numbered if he doesn’t turn things around this season.