Titans Training Camp Preview: Offensive Line



In camp: T Taylor Lewan, OG Quinton Spain, C Ben Jones, G Chance Warmack, T Jack Conklin, C/G Brian Schwenke, C Andy Gallik, G/T Jeremiah Poutasi, G Sebastian Tretola, G Josue Matias, T Will Poehls, T Nick Ritcher, T Taylor Marz, OL Will Campbell.


Offseason developments:** The Titans signed veteran Ben Jones (Texans) in free agency, and plugged him in at center. He's been a leader on the field and in the building, a regular at Saint Thomas Sports Park throughout the offseason. He's a tone-setter. The Titans drafted Jack Conklin with the eighth overall pick of the NFL Draft, and he's worked primarily at right tackle. The Titans opted not to pick up the fifth-year option on Warmack for 2017, so he's on a one-year deal with something to prove. The Titans would like to see him settle in and be more consistent in camp. The competition has been hot at several positions, especially at left guard, where a number of players are in the mix. The team suffered a setback to its depth and competition in May when versatile veteran Byron Bell suffered a season-ending ankle injury after signing a new contract with the team earlier in the offseason. The Titans made a big move on the coaching staff here by adding Hall of Famer Russ Grimm.

In the spotlight: Lewan. A first-round pick by the Titans in 2014, Lewan had an impressive offseason and appears poised for a solid 2016 season. The Titans were pleased with Lewan's commitment and approach throughout the offseason program following a season with he ranked 12th among tackles in the NFL, per Pro Football Focus. Lewan played through a shoulder injury last season, but that's since settled down and he's healthy. Most the questions about Lewan in recent months have centered on his leadership role. Lewan made it clear from the get-go he's focusing on being the best left tackle he can be. If he takes the next step, it would greatly benefit quarterback Marcus Mariota and the entire offensive line.


Battle to watch:** Left guard -- Spain vs. Poutasi vs. Tretola vs. Schwenke. Spain is the favorite here after working with the first group throughout the offseason. He's big, strong and smart, and he has experience from last year. He's improved during the offseason, but remains a work in progress. Poutasi, after making the transition from right tackle last season, could be his biggest contender. But he's going to need to mature quickly in his second training camp. Remember, he spent the first part of last season at right tackle. Tretola is a load, but he's still working to improve his technique and he needs to learn some patience in the trenches. Right now, he's too anxious. Schwenke will be in the mix, and he has solid value as a swing player in the middle. The Titans are keeping an open mind here. When the pads come on, the players who play at the highest physical level will be in the starting five – at left guard and across the entire line.

Keep an eye on: Conklin. Selected eighth overall out of Michigan State, Conklin is expected to start at right tackle this fall. He worked his way through an ankle injury in the offseason, and saw his workload increase quickly following Bell's season-ending injury. Conklin has a good disposition, and while he was impressive in the offseason, he's really expected to make his mark when the pads come on in training camp. Conklin thrives on being known as a tough and physical player, and it's going to be fun to watch him flex his muscles in training camp.

Next up: Defensive line.

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