NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Tennessee Titans right tackle Michael Oher “sounded a little irritated” when The Tennessean’s John Glennon asked him about the potential for a competition for his spot with Taylor Lewan.
"I don't know anything about any speculation because I know what type of player I am," Oher said. "I'm kind of tired of getting disrespected by a lot of people who don't know anything about the work I put in and how hard I work, and the love and passion I have for this game.
"So I'm not worried about anything. I go out there every day and give it my all. That's the kind of guy I am."
While I know disrespect is a default sentient for many NFL players, I found Oher's comment somewhat odd.
First off, there is a first-round pick a few lockers away from him.
No one in the press or fan base selected Lewan 11th overall. The Titans did. If Lewan’s presence and the resulting questions amount to disrespect to Oher, that’s an Oher issue with management -- not with “a lot of people who don’t know anything about the work” he puts in.
(Incidentally, Lewan puts in a lot of work, too.)
Secondly, that line of questioning has been basically non-existent, and respect for Oher is on an upward arc, not a downward one.
I expected there would be a position fight. But left guard Andy Levitre had his appendix out just before camp and Lewan played that spot until Levitre returned. Right now, Lewan is playing predominantly second-team left tackle.
Oher has been solid and dependable. I haven’t once watched the offensive line work and thought, “They ought to move him out of there for Lewan” even as I was predisposed to that thinking as camp started.
And, frankly, I haven’t heard anyone else calling for it.
I think Lewan needs to play. But I think he’s not going to if everyone else is healthy, in part because Oher is doing good work.
Oher has come across, in my limited dealings with him, as somewhat surly and easily annoyed. (Yes, yes. He reminds me of myself.)
Maybe that personality is part of what will make him an important piece of the Titans' line and its mentality.
And maybe he needs to chill a little with the disrespect deal.
By many accounts he did not play well in his final season in Baltimore and he should be able to handle such analysis.
Any disrespect he sees right now appears to me more imagined than real. And if he has a beef it shouldn't be with “a lot of people.” It should be with the team that signed him and then made a draft decision that created the question he dislikes.