It is now just days before NFL free agency begins, and at this point, we still do not know exactly what the Tennessee Titans are going to do.
The quarterback position is still a huge question for the team, and all eyes are on Mike Vrabel and Ran Carthon to see whether they are going to keep Ryan Tannehill or move on. That is going to play a huge part in whether or not they are going to try and win now, or whether they are punting on this season.
Ran Carthon has largely kept things as a mystery, but even if the Tennessee Titans opt for the rebuild route, at least offensively, they are going to have to do everything in their power to fix the offensive line.
Whether it is Tannehill, Malik Willis — who the team seems to still be giving a chance — or another younger quarterback, they will have to be given a fair chance to succeed.
We know that football is a game that starts in the trenches, and if the Tennessee Titans cannot properly protect who is under center, they can forget about the rest of their offense going anywhere.
Even if the offense goes into the season with other holes, if they solidify the five guys up front, there is at least an opportunity for the offense to establish an identity.
Tennessee Titans must invest in the right positions on the offensive line
Let’s start by acknowledging that no matter what the Tennessee Titans do to the offensive line this offseason, there is no scenario in which it is just going to be fixed by the start of next season. As of right now, the only guy on the line who we know is going to be brought back is Nicholas Petit-Frere.
Nate Davis is a pending free agent and is likely to walk, and multiple concussions for Ben Jones last season might signal the end of his career. If we are being realistic, the best-case scenario for the Titans is that they are replacing three guys on the offensive line, but that number is likely to be four.
No matter how much talent you bring in, if you are replacing three or four guys, it is going to take at least a few games for them to gain chemistry. That being said, there are scenarios in which the Titans can make the growing pains pass quicker, and this is why the way they invest their resources is going to matter.
Left tackle is maybe the most glaring need on their roster, and since Ben Jones may or may not be back, the Tennessee Titans would still be wise to address the center position in a pretty significant manner this offseason.
Just about every team’s left tackle is his quarterback’s blindside blocker, and the center is so important for communication and chemistry along the line. If the Titans are going into the season with both being rookies, then it is probably not going to be pretty to watch.
We will not blame them for not addressing both positions in free agency, as there is only so much money to go around on the team. But they would be wise to spend a good chunk of it on the offensive line as a whole and must address either left tackle or center in the next two weeks.
Extending Jeffery Simmons is arguably the top priority for the Titans this offseason, but fixing the offensive line is definitely “1B”.
Once again, it does not matter what their plans are in terms of winning now or rebuilding, they absolutely cannot go into this season with the same deficiencies on the offensive line. Besides the fact that not building it properly does not give the quarterback or team a chance to go anywhere meaningful, it also leads to a greater chance of players getting injured, as we saw with Tannehill in 2022.
That simply cannot happen again. Football is a game that is won and lost in the trenches to at least some degree. Until the Titans can hold their own (at the very least) they can’t expect sustained success again. That is why regardless of what happens, the offensive line rebuild needs to be the focus of free agency and the draft.