TRAINING CAMP PREVIEW: OFFENSIVE LINE
In camp: LT Taylor Lewan, RT Jack Conklin, LG Quinton Spain, RG Josh Kline, C Ben Jones, T Dennis Kelly, G/T Kevin Pamphile, G/T Xavier Su’a-Filo, G Cody Wichmann, T Tyler Marz, C/G Corey Levin, T Elijah Nkansah, T John Theus, T Matthew Diaz, G Aaron Stinnie, C Nico Falah.
Offseason developments: After suffering a torn ACL in the team’s playoff loss at New England, Conklin had surgery and began rehabbing his injured knee. He was sidelined during OTAs and the team’s minicamps. This offseason he’s lost 10 pounds to make himself quicker in a new scheme, but he's stronger than ever. The Titans signed Pamphile, formerly of the Buccaneers, early in free agency. The team also added Su’a-Filo, formerly of the Texans. Later in the offseason, Theus was claimed off waivers. Brian Schwenke’s contract expired, and he remains a free agent. The team offered a one-year tender to Spain, which he accepted. The Titans signed Kline to a contract extension. Lewan was present most the offseason, but he skipped the team’s minicamp. In a statement, Titans GM Jon Robinson said Lewan “is currently under contract and we are working to keep Taylor as part of this organization for a long time.” With Conklin out, other players bounced to different positions on the o-line.
In the spotlight: Lewan. A two-time Pro Bowler, Lewan is a valuable member of the team’s offensive line. He’s improved each season, and matured. Earlier this month, he got married. So what gives with his contract situation? Will Lewan show up for training camp with his teammates? Will he get a contract extension? Well, all of that remains to be seen. This much is certain: If Lewan is not on the field for Day One of training camp, the Titans will begin preparations for the 2018 season with someone else working in his left tackle spot.
Battle to watch: Left guard competition. There’s a lot going on here. Spain started 14 games last season, and he’s enjoyed a solid offseason. But the Titans signed Pamphile and Su’a-Filo to compete, and they have valuable experience as well. Wichmann is an underrated player who has shown ability, but he needs to be more consistent. With Kline locked in at right guard, the spot on the other side of Ben Jones is worth keeping an eye on. We also can’t ignore the fact some developments at other spots on the offensive line will have an impact on what happens here.
TitansOnline.com looks at the NFL career of guard Xavier Su'a-Filo. (AP Photos)
Keep an eye on: Pamphile. A fifth-round draft pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, Pamphile spent the last four seasons in Tampa Bay, where he played guard and tackle. He brings versatility to the Titans – he’s capable of playing every position on the offensive line. I’ve liked what I’ve seen from him this offseason, but where will he line up? And could he sneak into the starting five? If Conklin’s not ready for the start of the season, Kelly is the favorite to step in at right tackle. But Pamphile could also factor in at tackle, and he’s a contender at left guard as well. Lewan’s status, of course, will also impact how much the parts are moving. Keep an eye on Pamphile.
Next up: Defensive line.