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Countdown To Titans Training Camp: Questions At Right Tackle

Will a decent option emerge opposite Taylor Lewan?

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

After one of the most exciting and significant off-seasons in Tennessee Titans’ history, training camp is finally around the corner. Between positional competitions, coaching changes, and several new pieces, there are a number of interesting storylines that all Titans fans should keep an eye on this summer. The plan is took examine a new one each day until camp arrives.

Today, we will look at one of the biggest question marks on the offense—right tackle. Since David Stewart retired, this position has been a weakness. After the predictable Michael Oher debacle, right tackle was viewed by a lot of people as one of the biggest holes on the roster, presumably placing it very high up on the priority list. However, the Titans found a way to leave the position as big of a question mark as it was last year.

The team signed Byron Bell, who played poorly in Carolina. For comparison’s sake, the Panthers signed Michael Oher, while letting Bell walk, essentially saying that they view Oher as a better option. Some have said that he is better on the right side than the left, which very well may be true, but he was still poor there, too. I still question why the team did not sign Joe Barksdale, who has actually put good play on tape. Bell’s contract is set up so that he can be cut at any time with minimal damage, but considering how thin the team is at the position, it would be surprising to see him go. He will be in the thick of the competition for the starting job.

The Titans also drafted Jeremiah Poutasi from Utah. Since he is not athletic enough to play left tackle in the NFL, he’s been viewed as a potential guard or right tackle. It would not be a surprise to see him competing for both jobs this off-season. While he is somewhat of a mauler, there are indications that he is better in pass protection than run blocking. He has some of the characteristics of a viable option at right tackle, but he may not be ready to step in from day 1 and start.

The third option is Byron Stingily. He has been around for a few years now, and has been a solid swing tackle that can come in and play relatively well, if needed. However, given the fact that the other two options at the position are not exactly awe-inspiring, I could see him being at least somewhat of a player in this competition. Now is probably the most prime time in his career for him to actually land a starting job.

Right tackle is a position that worries me going into the season. Looking at the three options that the team has, I can’t help but wonder why the team did not place this higher on the priority list. You can’t fix it all in one off-season, but considering the apparent emphasis that the team placed on building around their rookie quarterback, you’d think that they would lock tackle up. There doesn’t really seem to be a clear favorite in this competition, and frankly, all of the options scare me, but we will just have to hope for the best. If the team can get one of these tackles to play on an average level and stay healthy for 16 games, it should be considered a big win.