Who needs a big camp: Offensive line edition

Frederick Breedon

Two starter remained entrenched, two new additions have a job locked up, and the final spot is in for a heavy competition. Who needs a big camp to earn a spot?

Of all the position groups undergoing a change, no group was overhauled more than offensive line. With two pro-bowl caliber offensive tackles the thought of retooling an offensive line seems strange considering how important the bookends of the line are. However, the revolving door of retreads, second-tier players, and aging vets left fans clamoring for more protection for the young QB Jake Locker and more running lanes for Chris Johnson.

Well the front office seemed to see the same issues as the fans and hit the interior line in the two hardest ways they could. Left guard Andy Levitre was added and after watching his film over the past two years I think he will be an instant boost to the running and passing game, and he and Michael Roos could excel at pass blocking for the next five years. The other serious addition is drafting consensus All-American and First-Team SEC guard Chance Warmack in the first round. Chance Warmack was one of (if not) the best players in the country last year and he and David Stewart may be the nastiest combination blockers in the league.

However, in a surprise move the Titans added center Brian Schwenke in the fourth round to come in and compete for the starting center job. It surprised Titans fans to see that the team made no visible attempt to sign talented center Fernando Velasco to a long term deal this offseason despite the cap room that the team seemed eager to use.

Last year's starter will need a big camp to fend of the rookie as the Titans described him as the first center on the team's board and a brief (six game) film study makes it easy to see why. Schwenke is a nasty blocker that loves to hit, and although he could stand to add some power to his lower body, he is very impressive technically.

Perhaps Schwenke's best quality is his quickness. He may be the quickest player I have seen on short pulls and trap blocks and his ability to create a seal behind him as he pulls is outstanding. If the think tank of Dowell Loggains, Coach Munch, and Bruce Mathews want to find creative and clever ways to get CJ some running lanes after pounding it up the middle our bouncing it out then they could easily have Levitre/Warmack and Schwenke get to the outside on some creative screen plays.

I think it is still early, but if Velasco doesn't have a big camp it is easy to see just how and why the Titans would like to use Schwenke. He is cheap, quick, and building chemistry between the three offensive linemen that will be together for the next four years are all very appealing factors.

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