The Titans have completed their first off-season under new General Manager, Jon Robinson. While he made some big time moves, and has provided the fanbase with hope, we are all waiting on actual production. This summer, training camp will show whether or not we will actually see it. With not much time left, we will take a look at a different topic each remaining day, until things get started.
There are a lot of variables going into the 2016 season--if a few key players can make some significant improvement, the team's win total could damatically increase. While a lot of these key players have been mentioned repeatedly, Taylor Lewan is usually forgotten. While he is a very talented offensive lineman, he needs to develop and improve, on and off the field.
After Ken Whisenhunt was fired and Mike Mularkey took over, protecting Marcus Mariota became priorities 1, 2, and 3. While there are a lot of players with potential along the offensive line, the unit needs to transition to having established linemen. Entering year three, the key player at the key position along the line, Taylor Lewan, has the opportunity to step up. Over the Spring, it appears as if he has matured a bit. Normally, we would have heard a great deal of noise from him through the media, but all indications are that he is taking a "put your head down and work hard philosophy."
When Lewan took over in 2014, he had an amazingly encouraging start. It looked as if the Titans had left tackle locked down for the next decade. However, last year, he disappointed. His play worsened, he faced injuries, was called out by the fanbase and media for his talking, and ultimately had his team captain title stripped. All offseason, the rumor was that he would lose his job at left tackle, and moved over to the right side. However, the Titans opted to keep him at his position. Now, entering year 3, he needs to make the jump. So far, during OTA's, he has earned a lot of praise. If he can continue this, it would go a long way towards shoring up the offensive line. He is the key player on the entire unit. If Lewan can hold it down on his side, the rest of the unit will fall into place alongside him. Keeping Marcus Mariota upright and healthy would spring the offense forward significantly. Also, if the line can pave the way for Demarco Murray and Derrick Henry, it will take even less heat off of Mariota. As a result, the defense will have time to rest, make proper sideline adjustments, and could see some positive effects from a well functioning offensive line.
Is Taylor Lewan's development the only thing needed to enable all of these effects? Of course not.That being said, he is an absolutely vital player, going into a crucial year of his career. Keeping Lewan at his position, the Titans expressed their faith in him. Now, he needs to display the talent that got him drafted early in 2014, and what allowed the Titans to have faith in him. If he plays to the ability that we know that he can, it would go a long way towards improving the offense, and the team as a whole. In less than two weeks, his vital season will begin. He is definitely a key player to keep an eye on.