Titans 53 prediction, offensive line, May
The Tennessee Titans boasted the best offensive line in football last season. Their improvement was phenomenal from 2015 to 2016. Offensive line coach Russ Grimm did a masterful job and “deserves lots of credit.”
Bookends Taylor Lewan and Jack Conklin seemed to have a competition in the press- I am the best young lineman in football! No I am the best young lineman in football! No I am! The articles that came out praising these two was music to the ears of Titans fans. Mike Munchak had created a wonderful unit that always performed well and then the Titans were the worst team in football. It was a gut punch. It was brutal watching the line get dominated by opponents. As difficult as that was, it was conversely enjoyable to read about praise for “our boys” again.
The Titans have had some great players at many other positions, but the offensive line has always been a unit the fans adore. This current group should continue to live up to high expectations.
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Quinton Spain is either the best guard in football that you have never heard about or the most underappreciated guard in football. In 19 starts, he has only allowed 2.5 sacks. When the Titans run behind Spain, they are more effective than at any other spot along the offensive line. If Jack Conklin were to allow 1.5 sacks over the next three games, their stats would be identical, yet “everyone” speaks of Conklin’s incredible first year with the team and few speak of Spain. I’m here! I see ya Quinton! You rock!
Ben Jones was excellent free agent addition by general manager Jon Robinson. He solidified the line after the Titans drafted two centers that didn’t work out. Jones only allowed 1.5 sacks last year.
Josh Kline was a waiver wire pickup from the New England Patriots. A former starter that was curiously cut, he stepped in for Chance Warmack nicely. As the season closed, Kline was beginning to struggle some. The running game also had some issues behind Kline.
I am predicting Josue Matias beats Kline out for his starting spot in training camp. I wrote of Matias here.
Dennis Kelly was a very effective sub and extra blocking tight end last season. Coach Mike Mularkey regularly singled him out in press conferences and seems quite pleased with Kelly.
Tim Lelito and Sebastian Tretola will have to battle it out for the backup center and guard position. Tretola has stated his ambition to start at guard, but this is a very difficult unit to crack. He had better work on his snapping ability. I think Lelito’s NFL experience will give him an edge here.
Tyler Marz should return to the practice squad. I find him fascinating because he has horrible “measurables” and yet deals with opposing defensive linemen just fine. He’s a monkey wrench thrown at the combine and all of the parameters we use to predict NFL success. NFL teams have been known to rest “sure-bet” starters and their stars during the summer. If Conklin or Lewan get some extra rest, watch for Marz. I think he is a player the Titans would be scared of losing and yet with a limited roster, they are going to have to face that.
So I am not predicting sixth-round pick Corey Levin or seventh-round pick Brad Seaton making the team. I think the Titans keep eight linemen and this is a tough unit to crack. I am (sorry to those two) thrilled that the Titans have the quality linemen necessary for me to make such a prediction.