Stop me if you have heard this one before, but the Tennessee Titans have been the most injured team in the NFL over the last two seasons.
This week is no different, and after one day of optimism, Tennessee Titans fans are once again biting their nails as we grind towards the inactives list for Sunday’s matchup against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Ignoring the fact that Taylor Lewan has been out since 10 minutes into the game against the Buffalo Bills in Week 2, the Tennessee Titans starting offensive line is supposed to be:
Left tackle: Dennis Daley (for…some reason)
Left guard: Aaron Brewer
Center: Ben Jones
Right guard: Nate Davis
Right tackle: Nicholas Petit-Frere
Since Week 5, the Titans have only had that offensive line together for half of their games.
Initially, the problem was with Nate Davis who popped up on the injury report with a midweek knee injury and then was out for three weeks. He was healthy for three games, but then Ben Jones got a concussion and missed the last two weeks.
The Tennessee Titans have shuffled the offensive line around and made it work, but it hasn’t been easy. That is why it was so disturbing to see Nate Davis pop up on the injury report out of nowhere on Thursday with a “knee” issue, all while Ben Jones hasn’t been officially cleared and released from concussion protocol.
On Sunday they will face one of the best defensive lines in the NFL, so the question is which offensive line will the fans see?
3 different scenarios for the Tennessee Titans offensive line
The good news is that Ben Jones has practiced fully for two straight days. While nothing is a given, I think it is a fair assumption to think that Ben Jones will make his return this week.
Based on the timing of everything, the most likely offensive line that the Tennessee Titans will see will be their normal starting offensive line but with Dillon Radunz stepping in for Nate Davis at right guard.
If they are lucky, Nate Davis being on the injury report will just be a precaution and they will get their full starting line back on Sunday.
Those are the two most likely scenarios, but there is something else that could happen. Aaron Brewer has been struggling mightily as a pass blocker due to his lack of a natural anchor and while he is often called a good run blocker, that isn’t really a good assessment of what he is doing.
Generally, he gets a lot of credit for the plays he makes on the second level against linebackers, but when it comes to moving defensive tackles, he really isn’t getting the job done.
The third scenario that the Titans could go with is starting Dillon Radunz at left guard.
Not only is he a better pass protector than Brewer, but he is also a bigger body and he can deal with defensive linemen better than Brewer has been. If the Tennessee Titans are going to continue to see defenses load up the line of scrimmage, having the size to deal with defensive linemen is going to be more important than being able to avoid defensive linemen and getting to the linebacker.
Forgetting about left tackle for a second, an offensive line with Radunz, Jones, Davis, and NPF starting from left guard to right tackle, could be a preview of next season. Grabbing a real left tackle or even a mauling tight end that could make life easier for the left tackle, could make this offensive line look much better in 2023.
Given how explosive the Tennessee Titans’ passing game has been recently, it would be wise to build the best OL to protect the QB. It will be very interesting to see what the Titans choose to do if (and it is a big if) everyone is healthy.