Saturday, August 4, 2012
Fernando Velasco's time for Titans arrives
By Paul Kuharsky
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- No matter how badly you may have wanted to see him out of the starting lineup, take no joy in Eugene Amano’s torn triceps.
It means the Titans' incumbent center is out for the year, and a guy who was a banged-up weak link last year whose run blocking fell off is out of the mix.
While the Titans visited in the spring with high-priced potential free-agent replacements Scott Wells, Chris Myers, Jeff Saturday and Dan Koppen, it was Amano still in place on the initial depth chart.
Two Hall of Fame offensive linemen remained loyal to him, perhaps stubbornly so. Now Mike Munchak and his offensive line coach, Bruce Matthews, have a decision made for them. Fernando Velasco is in the spot and will slug it out with Bruce’s son, Kevin, who’s currently out, recovering from a concussion.
Bruce Matthews has said for Kevin to win the job, he'd have to be the best option by such a margin that it was obvious to everyone. I think he'll have a tough time doing that against Velasco.
I feel badly for Amano, that his shot at redemption disappears as he heads to IR and surgery. Munchak said Amano knew how severe the Thursday evening practice injury was when it happened, as players often do. Since then, the coach sensed in a talk with Amano that he was “depressed and disappointed.”
But Friday the run game created some serious room for Chris Johnson and his backups -- the sort of room you rarely see or detect at a practice where there is no tackling. It seemed the line was energized by the change. (I didn’t see the same thing in a storm-shortened practice at LP Field today.)
Velasco was the challenger for right guard, where Leroy Harris now seems more secure.
“Velasco’s been preparing for this moment and his moment is now,” Munchak said. “We’ll see how he handles it and then we’ll go from there.”
It would have been better for the change at center to have come out of competition.
No matter how it arrives, it may help things get better. I certainly don’t think they’ll get worse.