It was time for a change. Something radical needed to happen to jump start the Titans struggling offensive line and Ken Whisenhunt may have turned the right key last night. Byron Bell was kicked inside, replacing Andy Levitre while Jeremiah Poutasi filled the void at right tackle. It all seemed to work. It wasn't perfect by any means, but you could see improvement there.
We saw improvements in both the run game and pass protection. Byron Bell seemed to give the rushing attack a bit of a spark with his strength and power. He was able to seal off interior defenders, creating lanes for Bishop Sankey. Bell had his wins and losses last night, but it looked like an overall net gain from last week.
Speaking of Bishop Sankey, it's amazing how different he looked when he had some space to operate in, isn't it? He looked like a different player -- a player that I envisioned when I wrote about him this offseason. Again, he doesn't offer you anything special, but he's a great space player and can be productive in his own role.
I'm not saying all of the Titans' issues are fixed, but Bell's presence inside really opened things up. The play calling was better as well as Whisenhunt opened things up with some early down passing. "Game-flow" can be just as important as execution up front -- its all about keeping the defense off balance. This was something that Whisenhunt didn't do very well as a play-caller last season, but he showed improvement last night. Marcus Mariota is a big reason for that.
Jeremiah Poutasi was actually solid last night in his first start at right tackle. I didn't notice him too much re-watching the game, which is a good thing for offensive lineman. One consistent problem with him is has been his hands. He needs to engage quicker so he can anchor faster in pass protection. Once he gets engaged, he can typically get set and hold his ground. Overall, he had a good showing against a fantastic front. Poutasi took on Chris Long and won several snaps -- I was very impressed.
I think Whisenhunt finally has the correct formula on the offensive line. The only guy that wasn't happy about their success last night was Andy Levitre, who looks like the odd man out. I would be totally shocked if he is on the final 53 man roster at this point.
The Titans will face another tough test this week in Kansas City. They run a 3-4 front, which is a different look than they have seen for the first two weeks of preseason. We'll see if they can continue their momentum from Sunday's win.