Tennessee Titans: Taylor Lewan

Shonn Greene practiced Monday

August, 18, 2014
Aug 18
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Titans running back Shonn Greene, who hyperextended his knee Friday night in New Orleans, practice on Monday and is fine, coach Ken Whisenhunt said.

“Shonn is fine,” Whisenhunt said. “He practiced."

Greene ran well against the Saints before leaving the game, and the Titans have been encouraged by his recent work. Through two games he’s carried 13 times for 66 yards and a team best 5.1 yards per carry.

Running back coach Sylvester Croom said Greene’s work in a practice at LP Field on Aug. 2 was the best the team had seen from him since last year’s opener in Pittsburgh, where he suffered a knee injury.

A second surgery on that knee cost Greene the offseason.
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Paul Kuharsky: The fumbling is a problem. Ken Whisenhunt said it's one of a number of things a rookie running back needs to sort through. I think Sankey is a guy who will learn from and resolve mistakes quickly. I liked the way he answered questions about a pass-protection flub in his first game and improved in that area in his second chance.

Paul Kuharsky: Where? At this point, good as Taylor Lewan's been, Michael Roos and Michael Oher have been taking care of their business and not leaving the door cracked. An injury anywhere but center and Lewan would be the guy. Otherwise, there doesn't look to be a spot for him to start.

Paul Kuharsky: Definitely carrying three. In games, at least early on, Charlie Whitehurst is the guy they'd want taking over. The game-day No. 2 won't have had much work during the practice week. If Jake Locker is out for an extended period, they could turn to Mettenberger given a chance to game plan for him and give him a full practice load. Mettenberger did some good things for sure. But let's not forget that Whitehurst has been doing good work -- better than many of us thought him capable of.

Paul Kuharsky: The Titans and the NFL have not chiseled it in granite that it has to be Maikon Bonani or Travis Coons. Coons has been pretty good. His trajectory was my biggest concern and it's improved a lot of late. He said they were working on quickening his approach and once they got that down he got back to his typical swing. They will have alternatives to the winner if they want them.

Paul Kuharsky: I'm not really sure what you think the scope of possible answers to that one is. They need to play better. There needs to be a better rush in front of them to help them play better.

Paul Kuharsky: I think Jake Locker is better. I think it's a better offense with a better scheme and better coaching, all of which will help him. Better enough? I don't know that. He still makes more bad choices than a QB you are hanging your hat on should.

Paul Kuharsky: I thought the one pass interference on Jason McCourty was a bit shaky. But overall I didn't have a huge argument with the officiating. It's on players to follow the rules and concern themselves with what's going to be called, not to count on the officials easing up.

Paul Kuharsky: They know what Leon Washington and Dexter McCluster can do as returners. They've been giving guys they are less familiar with a chance to show what they can do. 

Reading the coverage of the Tennessee Titans…

Jake Locker played well in preseason game No. 2, with 8-of-11 passing for 75 yards, a touchdown and a passer rating of 121.5 in two possessions, says Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean.

To which I say: An encouraging showing, particularly with the first drive for a touchdown after the defense gave up a score to open the game.

The Saints had more, but the Titans did their part to bog down the game with penalties, says Wyatt.

Rookie quarterback Zach Mettenberger played extra and put up big numbers back in Louisiana, says John Glennon of The Tennessean.

Taylor Lewan played a good game at both tackles spots, but drew two penalties, says Glennon.

Travis Coons had a productive night and is putting serious pressure on Maikon Bonani, says Wyatt.

Shonn Greene didn’t seem worried about his knee injury, says Wyatt.

Justin Hunter discusses his big night. Video from the team website.

Postgame quotes via the team’s website.

Saints tight end Jimmy Graham continued to dunk the ball over the goalpost even though it’s now a penalty. ESPN.com's Mike Triplett’s story.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Tennessee Titans right tackle Michael Ohersounded 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.

[+] EnlargeMichael Oher
Mark Humphrey/AP PhotoTackle Michael Oher, who is in his first season with Tennessee, says he's "tired of getting disrespected."
"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.

Ranking Titans' offensive line

August, 12, 2014
Aug 12
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The offensive line should be among the strengths of the Tennessee Titans.

They’ve put major resources into it the last two years: A big contract for free-agent guard Andy Levitre, a first-round pick on right guard Chance Warmack, a fourth-round pick on center Brian Schwenke, another big contract for right tackle Michael Oher and a first-round pick on tackle Taylor Lewan.

Gone are two Hall of Fame offensive linemen who coached the line -- head coach Mike Munchak and line coach Bruce Matthews.

Under Ken Whisenhunt and his line coach, Bob Bostad, the Titans need to be a line-centered team.

After the Titans practiced in Flowery Branch, Georgia, against the Falcons, ESPN’s John Clayton said the Titans have the sort of offensive line the Falcons aspire to have.

ESPN.com’s resident scout Matt Williamson recently ranked the eight best and the eight worst lines.

The Titans weren’t in the top eight. I reached out to Williamson about Tennessee.

“I would have put them right outside the top eight, maybe even ninth,” Williamson said. “Warmack needs to show more, but I believe he will develop into a big-time OG. I think they are fine at OC [Schwenke] and LG [Levitre], but more or less average there. I don’t like Oher much at all, but who knows how long he will even be the starter. And Roos remains a strong, but not great, LT. I bet they would have been ninth with the overall, arrow going up.”
Reading the coverage of the Tennessee Titans ...

Veteran receivers Derek Hagan and Brian Robiskie are looking to revive their careers, but it appears there is only one spot -- at most -- available, says John Glennon of The Tennessean.

To which I say: They’ve both been better than I expected, but I’d give Hagan the edge.

The Titans have gone from trying to boost Justin Hunter's confidence as a rookie to trying to keep him from getting a big head as he begins his second season, says Wyatt.

To which I say: Hunter seems to have a good handle on it all and understands the messages his coaches are sending.

Bernard Pollard and the defense were disgusted by their work early in the game against the Packers, says Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean.

Glennon’s practice review from Monday.

Taylor Lewan played three-quarters of the game against Green Bay and got a good review, says David Boclair of the Nashville Post. With a look at snap counts from the game.

Tuesday marks the final open practice for fans.

Titans Camp Report: Day 12

August, 6, 2014
Aug 6
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of Tennessee Titans training camp:
  • Defensive linemen Mike Martin (hamstring) and Antonio Johnson (knee) remain out. Head coach Ken Whisenhunt said Martin could miss Saturday’s preseason opener against Green Bay and that Johnson has more of a chance to play.
  • Taylor Lewan's No. 77 jersey was missing his last name. He said he was not in trouble or anything. Fifteen minutes before practice he discovered his jersey was missing.
  • Cornerback Tommie Campbell has struggled throughout camp, but he had a much better day. He ran deep with receiver Nate Washington on one play and was close enough to cause an incompletion. He batted away another pass by Jake Locker for Washington in the end zone during red-zone work.
  • Tight end Craig Stevens does a lot of unnoticed dirty work as a blocker. He had some nice opportunities in the passing game and took advantage. He caught a throw in the red zone from Locker at the goalpost and had a leaping catch in the end zone.
  • I watched Locker closely in one red-zone period. He hit Washington, dropped a snap for a fumble that killed a play, hit Washington in the end zone, hit Stevens for that leaping touchdown and saw Campbell bat that pass away from Washington.
  • The Titans went live (with tackling) for a goal-line snap and running back Shonn Greene plowed forward and got into the end zone from the 2-yard line. On the next snap, not live, Bishop Sankey was going straight ahead, made a sharp cut right and slid around the one guy with a chance of keeping him out of the end zone. Very nice.
  • We saw some kickoffs. Maikon Bonani put one through the end zone and had another high one come down halfway into the end zone. Travis Coons took one and hit a liner that landed at the goal line and looked like a long squib kick.
  • All 2-minute drive work ended with field goals: Bonani hit from 40, Coons hit from 49 (with a low liner), Bonani hit from 48.
  • Whisenhunt missed Ri'Shard Anderson swinging his helmet at a member of the Falcons during a scrap Monday. The coach said if he had seen it, Anderson would have been pulled.
  • The Titans practice at 2:50 local time Thursday. It is closed to the public.
Reading the coverage of the Tennessee Titans …

Time as the starting left guard while Andy Levitre (appendix) is out is helping first-round pick Taylor Lewan, says John Glennon of The Tennessean. “Lewan's cross-training is helping him develop quicker reaction times, allowing him to broaden his knowledge of the offensive line's responsibilities, and giving him the kind of first-team reps that he would not have been getting at tackle.”

Derek Hagan’s deep catch was a highlight of Thursday’s practice, says Glennon.

Zach Mettenberger bought a signed Eddie George jersey from team equipment manager Paul Noska, says Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean.

To which I say: I thought this was weird, since getting a George autograph won’t be difficult for Mettenberger. George is the color analyst on preseason broadcasts. But it’s a white Oilers jersey, which is a bit nostalgic and not necessarily easy to find.

Levitre is trying to stay patient while waiting for the medical people to say he can return to practice, says Wyatt.

Shawn Jefferson rates as the best position coach Nate Washington has worked with in his career, says David Boclair of the Nashville Post.

The Titans played through simulated crowd noise on Thursday. Amie Wells of the team's website has a report. (Video.)

Charlie Whitehurst says the Titans are starting to feel like the new offense is their own, says Joe Fann of the team’s website.
Reading the coverage of the Tennessee Titans...

Things got tougher for Dexter McCluster when the pads went on as he got popped several times, says Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean in his practice report. Also, Zach Brown made the play of the day.

Jake Locker thought the Titans' first day in pads was the offense’s best day so far, says John Glennon of The Tennessean. Also, check out Glennon’s practice report.

George Wilson is dedicating the season to his grandfather, who recently passed away, says Wyatt.

Jurrell Casey’s giving a little extra to Taylor Lewan when they face off, writes David Boclair of the Nashville Post. "So if he can stop me, he can stop most people out there. And he’s been doing a great job at it. It’s something I’m going to have to keep getting better at. ...If I’m one of the top tier players out there, I might as well give him the work," Casey said.

Ken Whisenhunt thought the Titans' first practice in pads sounded good, says David Boclair of the Nashville Post.

For Ken Whisenhunt and Nate Washington, being in Tennessee is a reunion, writes Greg Pogue of Fox Tennessee.

Day 3 of camp kicked off with this edition of Training Camp Live on the team's website. (Video.)

Some guys who are playing well and some who are not from Jordan Churchill of Music City Miracles.

Titans Camp Report: Day 2

July, 27, 2014
Jul 27
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of Tennessee Titans training camp:
  • In one-on-ones with receivers against defensive backs, undrafted rookie wideout Julian Horton matched up against undrafted rookie corner Ri'Shard Anderson. Jake Locker's pass sailed further downfield than where Horton had broken to the sideline. As Anderson looked back after the ball went incomplete, Locker pointed to where he should have been. That’s not vocal, but it did illustrate the sort of ownership and willingness to be heard that Locker said he’s been more reluctant to show in the past.
  • There was a stiff wind that had a bearing on a lot of passes. Charlie Whitehurst looked most affected by it to me, particularly on some deep balls in one-on-ones where he chose to put a lot of air under passes. Even Zach Mettenberger, the strongest-armed quarterback on the team, threw some wobblers. Ken Whisenhunt said he was happy with the wind, because the Titans were sure to get something like it on a game day at some point. Long-time assistant equipment man Matt Thompson has always shown a big arm. He made one of the day’s best throws when Leon Washington needed a ball in the end zone to bring out as the team worked on return positioning. It was over 40 yards in the air, a rope with a nice arc and plenty of zip.
  • Whisenhunt said more cover-2 was as big a reason for the reduction in deep completions from Day 1 to Day 2 as the wind. Defensive coordinator Ray Horton said no deep balls have been a theme since he joined the team and he was glad the offense hit them on the first day so he could say “this is what we’re talking about” to the defense.
  • There were some big mismatches where the matchups got out of sync. I guess the lesser player in Justin Hunter vs. Anderson and Rico Richardson vs. Coty Sensabaugh has a lot to learn from such a snap. But I liked when Tommie Campbell stepped on the field, replacing Khalid Wooten, for a snap against Justin Hunter. Campbell struggled against Marc Mariani on Saturday and had a tough time again, particularly in some snaps against Hunter.
  • Blidi Wreh-Wilson got the second day work as the second starting cornerback, after Sensabaugh had it on Saturday. Wreh-Wilson stuck with Hunter on a deep route early in seven-on-seven and Locker looked to want to go there, but ended up checking down.
  • Taylor Lewan got the bulk of the work as the starting left guard with Andy Levitre (appendix) out and Byron Stingily heading inside to deal with sickness.
  • Michael Preston worked higher in the receiver pecking order on Day 2, and Mariani was lower.
  • Whisenhunt said at the start that competitive positions wouldn’t see the same guy at the front of the line for multiple days. That bodes well for the status of Jackie Battle, who was the front-liner at fullback ahead of Collin Mooney again on Sunday.
  • Locker was running comfortably and without any hesitation. In one team period, he pulled it down after seeing nothing to his liking and ran up the middle, threw a completion along the right sideline to Nate Washington after rolling right and also rolled left and took off that direction. There was nothing to suggest his surgically repaired foot was any sort of issue.
  • Nate Washington returned to the receiver group jawing hard at cornerback Micah Pellerin, telling him not to do that and “if you’re beat, you’re beat.” Pellerin dropped a pick of Whitehurst on a throw Whitehurst didn’t seem to step into as strongly as he could have.
  • Second team defense: LE Al Woods, NT Antonio Johnson, RE Mike Martin, LOLB Shaun Phillips, ILB Zaviar Gooden, ILB Colin McCarthy, ROLB Akeem Ayers, LCB Tommie Campbell, S George Wilson, S Daimion Stafford, RCB Sensabaugh.
  • Washington, Dexter McCluster, Bishop Sankey and Mariani didn’t field balls, but each brought balls out of the end zone in a kickoff return period.
  • Kendall Wright made a nice sliding catch in traffic in front of Sensabaugh.
  • Stafford picked off a Tyler Wilson pass for tight end Jason Schepler.
  • Bernard Pollard was busting on Zach Mettenberger from the sideline as Mettenberger led the offense, shouting "Roll Tide." That's what someone said to Metenberger recently before sucker punching the former LSU player at a Nashville bar.

Best game ever: Taylor Lewan

July, 24, 2014
Jul 24
Continuing our series on the best games members of the Titans have ever played…

Taylor Lewan, offensive tackle

Oct. 30, 2008
Chaparral High School 28, Paradise Valley High School 20
Phoenix, Ariz.
Lewan: 37-yard kick return

"The best game I’ve ever played in, I was playing in Paradise Valley my senior year of high school. I was a left tackle. The defensive linemen were trying to cut me and I had to hurdle over defensive linemen, and it was kind of a cool situation. I just played a really consistent, well-played game. I also had a kick return for 37 yards, so everything was just a cool experience. We won. Yeah it was awesome, it was good stuff. We ended up going to the state championship. Got killed, 38-0, but the whole experience was pretty cool."

Review all the Best Game Ever posts.
Reading the coverage of the Tennessee Titans...

As the ghost of Paul Kuharsky keeps you entertained with his fun series about various players' best games ever, here I am again with linkage.

We start today with John Glennon of the Tennessean who ponders whether the fact that first-round draft pick Taylor Lewan hasn't signed yet is cause for concern. He concludes it is not. "I don't think there's cause for Titans fans to get alarmed at this stage, though recent precedent does raise some concerns. Negotiations can be sluggish this time of year simply because NFL execs and agents typically take their vacations, and there's still over a month before the Titans are scheduled to report for training camp on July 25, anyway." It is a little weird that about 98 percent of draft picks are signed and he isn't yet. But with training camps a month away right now, what's the rush?

Mike Keith, the voice of the Titans, answers questions about the team on the team's official website. He is asked which Titans offseason acquisition will be the greatest asset on offense. He says if he were including draft picks, he would say Bishop Sankey (as someone who watches way too much Pac-12 football, I loved that pick). But he's not including draft picks, so he chooses Dexter McCluster.

Safety Daimion Stafford banks on his versatility, writes Lauren Moore of the Tennessean.

Our Fantasy Football staff is already doling out advice on who to watch, and two Titans make it as potential sleepers: quarterback Jake Locker and receiver Justin Hunter.
Reading the coverage of the Tennessee Titans ...

Taylor Thompson endured a lot of growing pains in his first two years, but now he’s not making the same mistake twice, writes Megan Grindstaff of The Tennessean.

How much will Taylor Lewan play as a rookie? David Boclair of the Nashville Post looks at recent rookie tackles and how much work they got in their first years. It’s unusual for a first-round tackle to have to wait to play.

Lewan's assault case was pushed back again, this time to July 17, says Michael Rothstein of ESPN.com. The defense asked and the prosecutor signed off on the new dates.

Scouting fifth-round linebacker Avery Williamson with Joseph Yun of Music City Miracles.
If Titans tackle Taylor Lewan threw a punch or punches worthy of a conviction on pending assault charges in Michigan, the security video from the scene is not likely to be the conclusive piece of evidence against him.

Through a Freedom of Information act request, MLive obtained the video and the police report.

The lead investigator wrote that it doesn’t clearly show Lewan’s actions.

“I attempted to follow the movement of Lewan, however, I cannot say with certainty whether he was involved in physically assaulting someone, based on the recording,” Ann Arbor police detective Dave Monroe wrote in the report.

I don’t see any way anything on that video can be regarded as conclusive.

Lewan maintains he was a peacemaker.

On May 19, the case against Lewan was adjourned for four weeks. He now has a hearing scheduled for June 16, the day before the Titans kick off the three-day minicamp that concludes their offseason work.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- On May 7, Michael Roos and Michael Oher were locks to start as the Titans tackles.

On May 8, the Titans drafted Taylor Lewan out of Michigan with the 11th overall pick in the draft, and the team officially had three starting-quality tackles and a newly competitive situation.

Lewan has appeared respectful of the two quality players ahead of him.

Roos is the team’s longest tenured player, a second-round draft pick in 2005 and the leader of the line who is heading into the final year of his current deal. Oher was just signed as a free agent from Baltimore with a four-year, $20 million contract (that could technically be a one-year, $6 million deal).

In turn, both Roos and Oher spoke of the realities of the NFL, where competition is king.

"I knew it was going to happen eventually," Roos said of the Titans drafting another left tackle, per John Glennon of The Tennessean. "You can't play forever. At some point, somebody is going to come in, no matter who you are. There's a young kid that's going to push you or just replace you. It was bound to happen at some point and we'll see if I can hold him off."

It’s his job until he’s told otherwise he said.

Roos has been a quality player for a long time. He remains a top-flight pass protector, but did not play as well as he had in the past in the run game in 2013, particularly in short yardage situations.

Oher said: “You have to come compete every single day. That’s how I come to work every single day no matter what."

Lewan has a set rotation to get snaps at both left and right tackle in OTA work, Ken Whisenhunt said Tuesday. Roos and Oher were with the starting line at the start of practice.

Reviews of Lewan’s entry into the Titans locker room have been strong.

“Great guy,” Oher said. “Has all the abilities in the world. Fun. Good guy to be around. Willing to learn, a hard worker. I think he’s going to be great.”