Hamilton Herald Masthead


Front Page - Friday, September 29, 2023

Titans must move to shore up badly ineffective O-line

When the Titans drafted Peter Skoronksi with the 11th overall pick back in April, the initial thought would be that the rookie from Northwestern would be groomed to replace Taylor Lewan and continue the team’s left tackle succession that had gone from Brad Hopkins to Michael Roos to Lewan and spanned basically all 27 seasons the team has been in Tennessee.

But the Titans did a curious thing with their prized rookie, who has missed the past two games following an appendectomy. They installed him at left guard from the beginning and never really gave him a shot at tackle, which was his position throughout college.

Instead, the Titans gave a three-year, $29 million deal to former Eagles first-rounder Andre Dillard in the offseason, before drafting Skoronski, and made him their left tackle.

Three games in – and it was driven home Sunday with 3.5 sacks and five quarterback hits from Browns defensive end Myles Garrett – it’s clear Skoronski needs to be given a look at left tackle when he returns.

With five sacks allowed by the line Sunday in Cleveland, Tennessee’s revamped O-line has already allowed Ryan Tannehill to be taken down 13 times in three games. That’s second worst to Washington and projects to a mind-boggling 74 sacks on the year – a far worse pace than last year’s porous offensive line that allowed 49 sacks.

Dillard’s three-game run has sent pass rushers crashing the left side of the Tennessee line. Dillard wasn’t the only culprit Sunday, but he was so bad against Myles Garrett that he told reporters that Garrett offered him pointers after the game.

Here is a pointer that the Titans should probably heed. With Dillon Radunz’s return sooner than expected, he has done a passable job at left guard. So when Skoronski returns, it might be time to start giving him reps at left tackle to see if he holds up any better in the protection of Tannehill’s blind side.

It’s quite evident the overhaul of the Titans offensive line is still not complete. With a first-round pick invested now in Skoronski, the Titans should want to find out if he has what it takes to become a franchise left tackle.

If he does, perhaps it will be problem solved and the offensive line play can be salvaged with a lot of season still left to play. If he doesn’t, the Titans know he can be a quality left guard, and they can set about trying to find a long-term left tackle in next year’s draft.