The Tennessee Titans have announced that they've agreed on a one-year deal with offensive guard Deuce Lutui. The Titans wanted veteran depth on their offensive line. They also needed more depth at offensive guard.
Deuce Lutui was originally drafted in the second round of the 2006 NFL Draft. At age 29, Lutui is an offensive guard who spent his first six seasons with the Arizona Cardinals. At 6-foot-4 and 338 pounds, Lutui has appeared in 93 games, starting in 72. In 2011, Lutui appeared in 15 games. He made no starts. Mike Munchak had reportedly coached him during the 2006 Senior Bowl.
The Titans have concerns on their offensive line. Excluding Jake Locker, the Titans had nine rushing yards on 14 carries in their regular-season opener against the New England Patriots. Chris Johnson had four rushing yards on 11 carries. Johnson was hit in the backfield on most of his carries.
What Does This Mean For Leroy Harris?
During the fourth quarter of the game against New England, Leroy Harris was replaced by Kevin Matthews. The Titans' ineffective ground game was partially due to the interior of the offensive line. They couldn't block Vince Wilfork. The Patriots dominated the line of scrimmage.
There was speculation as to whether this was a permanent change. Coach Munchak insists that Harris was benched because of fatigued legs. For Week 2, Munchak expects that Harris will play.
What To Expect?
What can be expected of Lutui? ArizonaSports.com had an article about him in 2011. Conditioning was an issue for him. He has supposedly gone to a vegan diet. Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll was Lutui's college coach at USC. However, Carroll released him when he reached his 75-man roster limits. Despite a below-average offensive line, the Cardinals didn't bring him back.
The Titans made this move for depth. This won't magically fix the ground game. After Eugene Amano was placed on injured reserve, Fernando Velasco had to move to center. The Titans wanted another veteran interior offensive lineman. If Harris keeps struggling, then Lutui or Matthews may get a long look.
The issues with the ground game run much deeper. For the Titans' offense to reach its potential, Coach Munchak must figure out why the run game has become so ineffective. Is it the running backs, offensive line, play-calling, or a combination of everything?
Up Next: Two Roster Moves
The Titans were already at the league roster limit with 53 players. They'll also have to make a roster move when Kenny Britt returns from suspension. Before Week 2, expect two roster moves to be made. Are Quinn Johnson and Zac Diles nearing their end?
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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