Tennessee flirted with a bunch of high quality, high-priced centers in the offseason, they stuck with the status quo. Incumbent center Amano suffered a triceps injury in camp and was lost for the year, and Velasco took over.
Jim Wyatt tweeted from Mike Munchak’s media talk following practice that Velasco is moving from center to left guard and Matthews will take over at center. Matthews played poorly at left guard in relief of Hutchinson in Sunday’s loss to Houston.
The offensive line has been better for Chris Johnson in recent weeks. Pass protection has allowed 25 sacks in 12 games.
Twenty-eight games into Munchak’s tenure as head coach and Bruce Matthews’ tenure as his close friend's offensive line coach, the line may not be a weakness, but it’s not a clear strength.
If the two Pro Football Hall of Famers -- two Oilers alumni of whom owner Bud Adams is especially proud -- are back next year, they have to field a quality line with quality depth.
As the franchise's longtime offensive line coach, Munchak frequently developed draft picks and the team didn't have to invest high picks at the position. He certainly got the benefit of the doubt with regard to linemen in his first two years as head coach.
It could be past time now to spend a high-value draft pick or two to help restock, whether he comes to such a decision or GM Ruston Webster pushes that development.
Are any of Harris, Amano, Velasco, Lutui and Kevin Matthews in line to start in 2013 under the same coaches? Would some combination of them provide good enough depth along with Mike Otto? Otto is the team's third tackle who's now taking over for injured right tackle David Stewart the rest of this season.
Velasco, Lutui and Matthews should play the next four games and have opportunities to upgrade the film that’s on record for them as job applications for 2013.
Here’s hoping for upgrades that better supplement left tackle Michael Roos, right tackle David Stewart (now out for the year with the broken leg) and Hutchinson. And better depth to go with Otto.