Titans’ Taylor Lewan explains why ‘football is fun for me again’ in 2022

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Tennessee Titans left tackle Taylor Lewan is feeling very different going into 2022 as compared to 2021.

The former No. 11 overall pick was coming off a torn ACL last season and didn’t get a full offseason to get ready — and it showed, at least early on.

Lewan struggled out of the gate, highlighted by former Arizona Cardinals edge rusher Chandler Jones dominating him to the tune of five sacks in a season-opening loss.

After that abysmal performance, Lewan was able to slowly rebound as the season progressed.

He finished with the team’s highest Pro Football Focus grade (71.9) in pass protection and allowed four sacks in total and the least amount of pressures (21) among the starting group.

Lewan is in attendance at voluntary organized team activities and already notices a big difference between last year and this one.

“There wasn’t a lot of finishing downfield compared to how its been in the past. That’s kind of how I’ve made my name in this league is being a guy that finishes, and didn’t have the capability of doing that last year,” Lewan admitted, via Paul Kuharsky.

“I wasn’t in good enough shape to do that. And being out here now, it’s already a world of a difference to me. I can put a helmet on, I’m not gasping for air for four, five plays, I can go through a whole period and I’m laughing and talking trash with the boys; it’s a good time.”

Lewan’s struggles got to him last year, which led to a “miserable” experience in 2021. However, the 30-year-old says football is now fun again, and he explained why that’s the case.

“Football is now fun for me again,” Lewan said. “If there’s any difference between last year and this year, I’m enjoying the hell out of myself now. Last year, let’s not get it twisted, that (expletive) was (expletive) miserable… The first game was terrible, to the middle of the season. Yeah, at the end of the year things started going well, but damn, it was just not fun. Every week it was like, you don’t feel your best, you’re making one hundred excuses in your head. And then you get done, you’ve got to go unpack all those things, you can’t just pretend like it didn’t happen. I had to go and talk to a lot of people and figure that stuff out and unpack that stuff, and once we did, I feel a whole lot better. I feel more like myself than I ever have.”

Lewan, who some considered a potential cut candidate this offseason, is entering what could be a make-or-break year for him in Nashville.

The veteran has one more year left on his contract in 2023, but it comes with no dead money if the Titans were to cut him. Also, Tennessee might already have his future replacement in 2022 third-round pick and offensive tackle, Nicholas Petit-Frere.

For now, Lewan is locked-in as Tennessee’s starter on the left side and appears to have a head of steam going into his ninth season.

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