Posted: 12:00 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2013
It's been no secret that the Titans biggest focus of the off season was on the offensive line. After going out and nabbing the most sought after and expensive free agent guard in Andy Levitre, the Titans then used their tenth overall pick in the draft on Alabama guard Chance Warmack.
The team also brought in the current starter at center Rob Turner, as well as interior swing man Chris Spencer, not to mention others such as Barry Richardson that didn't make the cut. Head coach Mike Munchak has made it a point to say that this team will be about controlling the line of scrimmage, about dominating in the trenches.
While no one can say that the team hasn't improved in this area, it's still a far cry from the bill of goods sold to the fans.
It's true that it takes time for offensive lineman to learn to play alongside each other, to learn each other's tendencies and to "gel". While things haven't been as perfect as one would like, it's hard to make a change on such a symbiotic group, especially when the team is winning.
Before Sunday's game, the Titans were 3-1 and literally a play away from being undefeated.
The Titans drafted Brian Schwenke in the fourth round, not because they needed a center per say, but because his value was so good they couldn't pass him up. As the highest rated center on their board, Schwenke was known for his attitude and mauling play at the position, the same type of persona Munchak so dearly wants for his team. Unfortunately, a hamstring injury cost Schwenke the majority of training camp and any chance at making a push for the position.
While the moment wasn't right before, an opportunity may be presenting itself for Munchak to make the switch. While many think the bye week is when such a move could be made, I say the time is ripe now.
Young franchise QB Jake Locker is already injured and sidelined until at least the bye week. The Titans just suffered a loss and have two tough games in front of them between now and then. I am by no means suggesting that the team throw in the towel, or that a change right now would even be a step backwards. What I am saying is that now would be as good a time as any to find out what Schwenke can do on the interior.
This gives Schwenke at least two games of live action without the future of the franchise behind him. The team may struggle anyways during this stretch, and any kinks could be worked out while Locker is rehabbing. Two NFC match ups and a bye week would set the stage for Schwenke to be at full force with his other offensive lineman before the meat of the divisional schedule is played.
I like Turner. He plays hard, and would lay himself on the line for his quarterback on every play. He's always the first to a pile to clean up the defenders off his teammates. Unfortunately his play hasn't lived up to his heart.
The run game has been suffering form a combination of play calling as well as the inability to create room for the Titans star running back to get going.
The Titans had prided themselves in the preseason, and in the first games of the season, on being able to get the tough yards. To be able to line up and run the ball when everyone, even the armchair quarterbacks, knew what was happening. Unfortunately, they have lost their way and been unable to live up to their own expectations.
This offense needs an identity to match that of the defense. Maybe it's time to find out if Brian Schwenke can give the offensive line the edge that it needs.