NASHVILLE, Tenn. – While the hope is that a big free-agent addition provides immediate impact, it doesn’t always play out that way.
Levitre inked a six-year, $46.8 million deal on March 14 with a $10.5 million signing bonus and $13 million guaranteed.
He was a centerpiece in an offensive line revamp that also included the 10th pick in the draft, Chance Warmack, fourth-round center Brian Schwenke and upgrades in depth with veterans Rob Turner and Chris Spencer.
While Levitre’s gotten better through his first 12 games in Nashville, he isn’t hiding from having a lesser season than he and the team anticipated.
“I know I haven’t been playing well this season,” Levitre said. “I don’t want to say it was from my [knee] surgery after last season, I’ve had some other issues going on. I’ve been having a little struggle staying healthy this season. But I’m just trying to play the best I can, get an offseason program under my belt so I can get some of the strength back that I lost last offseason.
“I hate to use that as an excuse, I’m not one to point at something else. It’s my issue, I’ve got to deal with it."
“Some other issues” haven’t landed him on an injury report this season.
I appreciate his honest assessment of his play this year. A guy of his stature needs to stand up and acknowledge how he’s played. All guys should. Many do not.
“I didn’t feel like my lower body was stable [early on], I didn’t feel like I was moving around very well,” he said. “I’ve gotten a lot better than I was in training camp, but I can still tell I’m not playing the way I want to play. It can be fixed, but there’s really no excuse.
“I know I can do better, I want to do better. My body’s just kind of running its course with this. ... It’s issues I’ll address in the offseason.”
Levitre’s off year also has him atop the Titans' list of penalty offenders. He’s been flagged seven times, two more than anyone else on the team.
Coach Mike Munchak regularly puts a list of top offenders up on a screen in front of the team.
“I’ve never had it be that big of an issue before,” Levitre said of his penalties. “It’s never good, it’s one of those stats you never want to have. Unfortunately I’ve had a lot this year.
“It’s a lack of discipline, a lack of technique. Obvious you never want to have penalties, but it’s something that can be fixed, so that’s a good thing.”