COMMENTARY | The Titans had their normal Wednesday press conference, today. Normally these consist of Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Munchak summing up team injuries, announcing who practiced fully, who was limited, and who was out completely. However, the following two things spiced up what was an otherwise formulaic press conference.
1. This is Brian Schwenke's offensive line now.
After a generally impressive performance against the San Francisco 49ers in Week 7, it was clear that Schwenke had earned himself a lengthy leash going forward. However, I never expected that before he even played his second game, the Titans would move Rob Turner (former starter) to the injured reserve list.
The Titans moving Turner to IR was surprising, but even more surprising is that the Titans' only real move was to add Pat McQuistan to "replace him" on the roster. I put "replace him" in quotes because McQuistan isn't a center, he is an offensive tackle; meaning that the team is going with Chris Spencer as the primary backup. This is essentially the Titans' coaching staff saying that they have faith in Schwenke as the starter for the rest of the year and will likely move him forward.
In my opinion, this should have been the move from the beginning; he is cat-quick for a center and his ability to get to the next level was one of the reasons Chris Johnson was sprung for that 66-yard screen pass against the 49ers. Speaking of Chris Johnson…
2. Is this the beginning of the end for Chris Johnson?
The Titans have dedicated a plethora of resources towards building a team around a Chris Johnson lead running attack. They added a pure run-blocking guard in the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft (Chance Warmack). They also made the move to draft another offensive lineman known for his run-blocking (Brian Schwenke) in the fourth round.
When the Titans considered Chris Johnson the future cornerstone of the team, Tennessee gave him a 6 yr/$53.9 million contract. That contract ranks second among running backs in 2013 in terms of base salary, cap hit, and guaranteed money.
However, Johnson's reign as the Titans "lead back" was put in serious jeopardy, Wednesday, when it was announced that Tennessee intends to give Shonn Greene 15 carries per game "moving forward". If that is the plan, then the Titans are paying Chris Johnson all that money for (optimistically) five to 10 more carries than Greene per game.
That difference in production compared to salary will be hard to justify when evaluating his contract in the offseason. If Shonn Greene can even come close to the type of numbers that Chris Johnson is putting up on a weekly basis, why would they pay him that gaudy figure? If Johnson doesn't remind general manager Ruston Webster why he kept him on last year, then he could be real estate shopping in three months.
Will Lomas is a lead blogger for draftseason.com and a staff writer for SBNation's Tennessee Titans website Music City Miracles. Will is also the sports editor for the Tennessee Journalist, the University of Tennessee's online news source.
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