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Friday, October 4, 2013
Swapping Schwenke for Turner unlikely

By Paul Kuharsky

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- If Brian Schwenke is a better player than Rob Turner, then the Tennessee Titans should simply make a change at center, right?

It's not such a simple question for the Titans to answer, and I can understand why considering issues of cohesion.

Turner
Turner has generally been a weak spot. Pro Football Focus, not gospel by any means, rates him 31st among centers.

The progress of a revamped offensive line hasn't been significant enough, fast enough. Pass protection has been solid -- the Titans have surrendered nine sacks in four games. Run blocking has hardly been consistently good -- the Titans are averaging 3.5 yards a carry and Chris Johnson, who certainly carries some of the blame, is averaging 3.3.

The Titans paid left guard Andy Levitre a $10.5 million signing bonus as part of a six-year, $46.8 million contract. They spent the 10th pick in the draft on Chance Warmack.

Turner won the starting position in training camp over Fernando Velasco, and the Titans then chose to keep Chris Spencer as the swing interior backup instead of Velasco, who was more costly.

Velasco is now with the Steelers.

I didn't have a big beef with the decision to go with Turner as the starter at the beginning. It's Schwenke, a fourth-round pick whom the Titans felt was the best center in the 2013 draft, who's the ultimate answer at the position. A hamstring injury kept him out of the bulk of camp and left him behind.

Now, caught up or not, it's difficult to pull a starter and make a change, particularly on the line where cohesion is so important, after a group has had significant time together.

"It's a difficult situation because of the way it happened," coach Mike Munchak said. "It's hard during the season when we're winning, you're trying to develop something that's going to take a little time, we knew, with three new guys in there and a lot of variables there," coach Mike Munchak said.

"Unless we're forced to do it or think we need to, yeah, we'd probably hold off doing it. It is hard to do. It's not like you're starting over, but it is. To me, we're moving forward, we need to keep playing better as a group, and then as far as making changes to our group, we'd have to be real disappointed in how things are going or it'd have to be affecting us where we felt it was something we just had to do, assuming everyone is healthy."