- Paul Kuharsky, ESPN Staff Writer
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- A ticking clock for the Tennessee Titans and the team’s offensive line helped get it going last Sunday in St. Louis, offensive line coach Bruce Matthews said Tuesday on Nashville radio.
“More than anything it’s the sense of urgency, realizing we have a great opportunity right now. …We’re at the point of the season where, if we want to be around and be relevant in December and hopefully January, then we’ve got to start making some hay right now,” he told The Midday 180, of which I am a part. “There is definitely a heightened sense of urgency. That’s what you play for, you start winning these games and every game starts taking on that bigger quality and kind of amps up what’s at stake."
It took too long for the Titans to get to a game with a combination of big carries (35) and big rushing yardage (198), and they’ve got to go out Sunday against Jacksonville and show it wasn’t a one-week thing.
Matthews spoke of the time it takes for all involved to get a comfort level with the scheme and an understanding of each other.
But he also admitted the obvious: it’s taken too long for the Titans to get to such a point. Last year there were massive offensive line injuries in play. But coach Mike Munchak and Matthews, Hall of Fame offensive linemen, have not crafted the sort of run success they expect in their first two and a half years in their roles.
This year they didn’t get rookie center Brian Schwenke, hurt in camp, in the lineup until the seventh game, have missed right tackle David Stewart for a lot of practices and one game, and didn’t have running back Shonn Greene for five games.
“Our expectations are really high,” Matthews said. “I think we have the pieces in place to have that happen if we continue trending the way we are. And still because of the injuries and the nature of how things have gone through the first eight games, we’re still kind of emerging as far as, ‘All right, what scheme best fits our guys?’
“I think we’re figuring that out, especially with the two young guys [Schwenke and Chance Warmack] being in there and them being more comfortable and obviously it’s an adjustment for Andy [Levitre] too, and I thought he played his best game last week. Yeah, there is frustration, but there is a lot of optimism, too."
One final side note on a funny exchange we had with Matthews:
I said I know there was a time he didn’t even picture himself doing this job, and he said “nope.” And I asked if he could see himself following in Munchak’s path if he ever got the opportunity to be a head coach.
“Nope,” he said.
Hear the whole interview here.