For all the talk of competition along the offensive front for the Tennessee Titans, there really is only one spot that legitimately is up for grabs with training camp set to open at the end of the month.
The left guard spot is the only one of the five positions that has not been solidified as of yet, and even that seems penciled in at the opening of camp.
Quinton Spain, an undrafted 2015 free agent from West Virginia who started the final six games of last year, held serve throughout all of the Titans’ OTA and mini-camp work, serving as the starter at the left guard position, while veteran Brian Schwenke and second-year pro Jeremiah Poutasi worked mostly as backups.
There was only one practice session open to the media where Spain was not the starter at left guard. On that day, Schwenke, the Titans starting center the previous three years, got the nod, but Spain was at right tackle, filling in for first-round pick Jack Conklin, who had been bothered by a sore ankle.
Spain said he after holding the job throughout the offseason, his goal now is to hold on to it and build chemistry with Taylor Lewan and Ben Jones on each side of him.
“That’s my mindset, that it’s my job to lose,” Spain said. “It’s very important, because if we’re going to be the starting five, I’ve got to keep that spot, since we’ve been working together for a while.”
As for the right guard spot, early in off-season work, Coach Mike Mularkey hinted that Chance Warmack’s position might be up for grabs as well. However, that did not seem to materialize and the former first-round pick has been with the starting unit in every practice at right guard.
Jones is expected to solidify the center position, after Schwenke has battled injury issues, while rookie first-round pick Conklin steps into the right tackle spot with Lewan set on the left side.
Byron Bell’s injury as the Titans search for depth at the guard and tackle spots, where a number of players could get in that mix, including Poutasi, Will Poehls and Josue Matias.
Beyond the personnel, the biggest change on the offensive line could be the addition of Hall of Famer Russ Grimm as the line coach, replacing the unpopular Bob Bostad. Grimm, as part of his assignment from Mularkey and offensive coordinator Terry Robiskie, has gone about simplifying the Titans blocking assignments, and his track record as a member of the Washington Redskins famed “Hogs” earns him respect from his pupils immediately.
“I just listen to everything he says, whether it’s about football or it’s about life,” Warmack said. “There’s a lot of things that go hand in hand in both, and he’s the guy to talk to. He’s just a great all-around person. Everything has been good as far as the communication between us and him goes. It’s been great.”