The Titans had yet another successful night on the ground on Saturday against the Raiders. The offensive line was blowing open holes for DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry. Let's take a deeper dive into this offensive line and see who stood out.
Let's get rolling with Jack Conklin. The Titans' first rounder has been better than I thought he would be to this point. If you'll remember, I had big issues with his pass protection during his time at Michigan State. However, his contributions in the run game have really stuck out to me, although virtually anything would have been better than what the Titans trotted out last season.
Conklin's strength shows up on tape. He's a sturdy dude that can hold his ground when his mechanics are right. Watch below as he handles Khalil Mack. This is Conklin at his best. He's on balance, wins the leverage battle and disposes of his man.
Conklin's play strength has stuck out to me this pre-season. He doesn't look out of place or over matched. I think he's going to end up being a great fit in this new power football approach. His issues in college were with balance and usually happened in pass protection. However, he's miles ahead of where Jeremiah Poutasi was at this time last season. That's a massive upgrade, even if Conklin just proves to be an average right tackle.
Speaking of pass protection, here's a glimpse of Conklin in pass protection against Bruce Irvin.
This isn't a bad rep, but Irvin does get plenty of push back here. The old saying "one are is longer than two" applies as Irvin keeps Conklin from controlling him. It's a good thing Mariota gets the ball out when he does.
I'd love to see Conklin get more aggressive with his hands here. Go out and punch that rusher and surprise him. Maybe even get him off balance. Instead Conklin waits for Irvin to come to him, nearly backing up into Mariota.
I'm nitpicking. Conklin turned in another solid day of work on the right side. He appears to have finally stabilized that position -- something that hasn't been done since David Stewart retired.
Quietly, Chance Warmack has shown lots of improvement so far this season. He started off hot against San Diego, clearing lanes for DeMarco and Derrick and hasn't let up yet. The main reason for this? Upgrades on both sides of him. Ben Jones and Jack Conklin are so much better than Schwenke/Gallik and Poutasi/Bell. This just makes his job easier because he doesn't have to worry about a blown assignment beside him.
Take a look at this rep in Oakland. Watch what Warmack is able to do for Murray here.
He combos and flattens his man with Conklin, then gets up and lunges into the outside linebacker. He ends up getting the middle linebacker too. That's three men blocked from his knees.
I don't have any statistics on this, but it feels like the Titans are favoring the right side of the line when running the ball. Jones-Warmack-Conklin are really working well together. Throw Phillip Supernaw, Anthony Fasano and Jalston Fowler behind them and you've got a problem for the opposing defense.
There were a few more great examples of dominance by the Titans offensive line. The goal-line play for Henry running behind a pulling Spain was one of them. I think we can officially declare Spain the winner of that "battle" between he Tretola and Schwenke. Another example was this rep from Murray. Conklin, Warmack and Fasano work on the right side to spring Murray free.
It's been a long time since we could say the Titans are good up front, but I think they're on their way back. Chris Johnson was the last back that put up any numbers of substance for Tennessee, but that appears like it will be changing this season.