NASHVILLE – The Titans signed veteran offensive lineman Kevin Pamphile last offseason, and the addition immediately paid dividends.
Pamphile came off the bench in the season opener at Miami in place of an injured Taylor Lewan. The following week, he made his first career start vs the Texans at left tackle. Then in Week 3, Pamphile started at right tackle in Jacksonville as the shuffling continued.
But an injury in that contest ended Pamphile's season, forcing him to Injured Reserve. He spent a good chunk of his fall in the training room.
"I'd be lying if I said it wasn't discouraging," Pamphile said. "It was tough. But at the same time I needed to get healthy and ready for the next year. So that became my primary focus."
Pamphile is back with the Titans, and back on the field, after re-signing with the team earlier this offseason.
He's now competing for a starting spot at right guard, adjusting to a new technique and challenges while trying to beat out the competition. Pamphile, who played his first four NFL seasons with the Buccaneers, is excited about the chance.
Part of the reason he re-signed in Tennessee was for the opportunity to compete for a starting spot.
"Yes, that was a part of it," Pamphile said. "But at the same time I wanted an opportunity to play with these guys again and prove myself with this team. It's a bunch of great coaches, great players, and I wanted to be a part of this organization and help them win.
"Right now I have an opportunity to help the team, and I want to be a help anywhere I'm plugged into."
Pamphile agreed to terms on another one-year deal in Tennessee back in March.
At 6-foot-5, 315 pounds, Pamphile has proven his versatility over the years. He's started games at left tackle, right tackle, left guard and even tight end during his NFL career.
A five-year veteran, Pamphile has played in 56 career games, with 35 starts. He played four seasons with the Buccaneers from 2014-2017 after originally being drafted in the fifth round of the 2014 NFL Draft out of Purdue.
Pamphile has competition at guard, from rookie Nate Davis to Aaron Stinnie to Jamil Douglas, and Corey Levin is capable of playing center and guard. The Titans signed veteran Rodger Saffold to man the left guard spot during an offseason when the team said goodbye to their starting guards from a year ago – Josh Kline and Quinton Spain.
"It's about opportunity," Titans coach Mike Vrabel said of Pamphile. "At the time (last year) when I talked to Kevin (Pamphile), I said, 'I think we're in that opportunity stage.' He came in, and he helped us, and he was versatile. Unfortunately, he got hurt. He worked hard to recover, and we wanted to have him back. We were able to get him back, and I think he's taking advantage of the opportunity to go in there and try to compete."
Pamphile said he's adjusting to playing with a different technique while working at right guard, next to center Ben Jones. He's working on everything from his aiming points to his footwork to making sure his hands are correct when working against defensive linemen.
He said he's leaned on Saffold for advice.
"I don't want to say it's a new position, but at the same time it's a challenging one," Pamphile said. "But I am excited for the opportunity."
More than anything, Pamphile is excited to be back in action.
"I just want to build on last year with the offense, and make sure we capitalize on everything," he said. "For me, personal goals, just make sure I build up my technique and make sure I am stout in that aspect.
"I missed out on playing a year ago, and I love the game. I am excited to be back on the field."
The Titans take the field for Tuesday's organized team activities (OTA) at Saint Thomas Sports Park. (Photos: Donald Page, AP)