The Tennessee Titans entered the 2012 offseason with concerns on the interior of their offensive line. The Titans replaced Jake Scott with Steve Hutchinson. They moved Leroy Harris from left guard to right guard. Eugene Amano was also trying to hold off Kevin Matthews for the starting center position.
The Titans' offensive-line plans will change following the news that Amano will miss the entire 2012-13 NFL season because of a torn triceps injury. Amano suffered this injury during training camp on August 2. The Titans were already without Matthews because he's recovering from a concussion. He isn't expected to return until next week.
Fernando Velasco and Harris were expected to compete for the starting right guard position. However, the injuries to Amano and Matthews have forced Velasco to center. Velasco and Matthews are now expected to compete for the starting center position. It's hard to envision Harris losing his grip as the right guard unless he's absolutely horrible during the preseason.
Some Titans enthusiasts (including myself) have considered Amano to be the weakest link on the Titans' offensive line for the past couple of seasons. We'll see how the Titans perform without him. They still have one of the NFL's best offensive-tackle tandems with David Stewart and Michael Roos. The shifts within the interior of the offensive line will be something to keep an eye on during a six-game schedule that features a group of nose tackles and defensive tackles that include Vince Wilfork, Ndamukong Suh, Kevin Williams and Casey Hampton.
The Titans have lost two potential starting offensive players before their first preseason game. Kenny Britt is recovering from surgeries on both of his knees. Britt will almost certainly face a suspension for violating the NFL's personal-conduct policy. 2012 first-round draft pick Kendall Wright may also be a little behind in the offense as he just signed a four-year deal on August 1.
I'm not concerned about pass protection. The Titans have two former Hall of Fame offensive linemen on their coaching staff with offensive line coach Bruce Matthews and head coach Mike Munchak. The offensive line has only surrendered 66 sacks in the past three seasons. Barring anymore injuries, they should be okay in that department.
I'm more concerned with how it'll affect the ground game, particularly with Chris Johnson and Jamie Harper. Johnson struggled in his first season under offensive coordinator Chris Palmer. Johnson missed all of training camp because of his contractual dispute. They need a more-balanced offense with an inexperienced Jake Locker.
I hope these injuries aren't a sign of things to come. I was excited to see this offense with everyone healthy. They're already down two starters and their backup center. It'll be worth keeping an eye on the Titans' injuries during August.
Joshua Huffman graduated from Middle Tennessee State University as a marketing major in 2009. He's been a Middle Tennessee resident from 1986-88 and 2001-present. He lived in the Upper Peninsula and Northern Wisconsin from 1988-01 and for approximately eight months in 2009-10 as he completed a 20-game volunteer position with the USHL's Green Bay Gamblers. His favorite sports organizations include the Green Bay Packers, Chicago Cubs, Nashville Predators and Tennessee Titans. He can be found on Twitter HERE.
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