Their unrelenting desire to bully opponents through the run game has allowed them to be very successful over the past few years. Playing this style of smash-mouth football requires strong play in the trenches, something the Titans have lacked on the offensive side of the ball for over a season and a half now.
One of the key reasons why the Tennessee Titans offensive line has been so porous is the inability to replace Taylor Lewan's presence at left tackle. Last season, the Tennessee Titans started Dennis Daley at LT, who notably had the highest sack-to-snap ratio of any offensive tackle since 2014.
In the offseason, the Tennessee Titans traded for Daley and acquired Andre Dillard from the Philadelphia Eagles to fill the hole at LT, signing the former 1st-rounder to a 3-year, $29 million contract.
This was always seen as a boom or bust pickup, and unfortunately, the Tennessee Titans are seeing how much of a bust it was. Dillard has already surrendered 6 sacks and 16 pressures in just 3 games and was visually out of place lining up against Myles Garrett in Week 3.
During this span, The 33rd Team has the Titans as the 22nd ranked Offensive Line in the NFL, which simply isn't good enough for their outdated style of play. Tennessee will need to rework its starting line in order to be successful in the near future. Fortunately, two starters will be returning to the lineup soon.
Petit-Frere Eligible for Week 5 Return for Tennessee Titans
After being suspended over the offseason for gambling while at Titans facilities, right tackle Nicholas Petit-Frere wasn't slated to return until Tennessee's Week 8 matchup against the Atlanta Falcons. With the release of the NFL's updated gambling policy, which lessens the punishment for players betting on other sports entirely, NPF can now return as soon as next week against the Indianapolis Colts.
Petit-Frere's presence should be a welcome addition to a Titans line that desperately needs a reset. This could potentially allow Chris Hubbard, the fill-in right tackle who has filled in well during NPF's absence, to simply serve as a much-needed reliable depth player at tackle.
Skoronski Injury Update
First-round rookie guard Peter Skoronski has been the best player on a putrid offensive line for the Tennessee Titans. After registering an 88.1 PFF grade in the Week 1 loss, Skoronski has missed the past two games with a ruptured appendix, a non-football-related injury that will again sideline him in this week's matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Skoronski has reportedly lost weight due to the illness, so that may also factor into when he’s ready to play again for the Titans. Things were trending in the right direction for Skoronski before ultimately being ruled out this week, and it is possible that he could return in the next week or two.
How the Tennessee Titans can Rework the Offensive Line
First and foremost, Andre Dillard is just not cut out to be a starting tackle in the NFL. Currently, Dillard is on pace to give up 34 sacks and 91 pressures on the season which would be an untouchable record until the end of time.
Dillon Radunz, who played 45 snaps at LG last week, needs to take over as the starting left tackle for the foreseeable future. Radunz played LT in college, and has only recorded three blown blocks in 96 snaps this season according to The 33rd Team. It's highly unlikely that he could perform worse than Dillard has thus far, he appears to have a high upside when healthy.
Many Tennessee Titans fans are calling for Skoronski to start taking snaps at left tackle upon his return, and although he was the starting LT at Northwestern, I think guard is a much more natural position for him given his physical limitations. One of the biggest knocks on his draft profile was his relatively short wingspan for his size, which makes holding the edge as a tackle much harder against a higher level of competition.
It remains to be seen whether or not Mike Vrabel will swallow his ego and bench Andre Dillard, but regardless, this offensive line has to see some improvement in the coming weeks or it's hard to envision this season resulting in success.