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Titans OC Todd Downing displays confidence in Nicholas-Petit Frere ahead of Sunday’s debut

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Tennessee Titans Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images
  1. The Tennessee Titans selected former Ohio State offensive tackle Nicholas Petit-Frere with the No. 69 overall selection in the third round of the 2022 NFL Draft. A wide ranging amount of attention did not arrive even days after Petit-Frere’s selection. Titans fans were busy diverting attention to the selections of Malik Willis and Treylon Burks. Fast forward to Sunday’s impending opener against the New York Giants and Petit-Frere is arguably in the biggest spot of any Titans rookies.

Petit-Frere will start for the Titans at right tackle on Sunday. Petit-Frere didn’t enter training camp as the favorite to win the job. It was a result of his impressive showings, paired with disappointing outputs from second-year tackle-turned-guard Dillon Radunz. Titans General Manager Jon Robinson entered the offseason searching for an upgrade at the position following less-than-desirable performances by David Quessenberry last season. Quessenberry allowed a team-high 11.0 sacks while struggling in pass protection, via Pro Football Focus. Petit-Frere will now attempt to provide that upgrade.

Titans Offensive Coordinator Todd Downing is confident.

“It goes back to him [Petit-Frere] relying on his foundation,” Downing said Thursday. “He’s shown steady progress and commitment to growth. He’s done things the way we ask him to do it. I believe that his poise, confidence, and his reliance on the techniques he’s learned are going to serve him well. We’re excited to see what he can do,” Downing concluded.

Right tackle has been a problem spot for the Titans since Jack Conklin’s departure. Dennis Kelly proved to be a league-average short-term solution. The drafting of Isaiah Wilson was a well-documented disaster. Radunz is a second-round disappointment as of now. The Titans desperately need Petit-Frere to end the drought.

Petit-Frere may potentially catch a break during Sunday’s debut. The Giants’ starting EDGE defenders Kayvon Thibodeaux and Azeez Ojulari continue to feature on their injury report and appear truly questionable for Sunday’s season opener. Petit-Frere’s job would get considerably easier if Thibodeaux and Ojulari are unable to suit up.