Titans shuffle offensive line, continue to seek information on the group

Left guard Andy Levitre was subbed out at times on Sunday as the Titans look to find their best offensive line combination. Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Tennessee Titans coach Ken Whisenhunt made it as if it was nothing out of the ordinary. Left guard Andy Levitre said he didn’t know if it meant anything.

But at their first practice since Friday night's preseason loss in Atlanta, the Titans mixed up their offensive line.

At times it was the same as it has been, with Taylor Lewan at left tackle, Levitre, center Brian Schwenke, right guard Chance Warmack and right tackle Byron Bell.

But just as often, if not more, the lineup was Lewan, Bell at left guard, Schwenke, Warmack and Jamon Meredith at right tackle.

After Schwenke stepped on a foot and was hobbled, Fernando Velasco was the center.

“You have to ask the coaches, I honestly don’t know (what it means),” Levitre said of the shuffle. “I’m not reading into it. You can ask Whiz or the O-line coach or something.

Competition and increased versatility will help the whole group, said Levitre, who’s not played up to the six-year, $46.8 million contract he signed in Tennessee as a free agent in 2013.

Whisenhunt steered his post practice conversation away from the idea there was a big shift, indicating that Bell has worked at guard and Meredith at tackle through camp, even with the first team.

The Titans are continuing to look for their best combinations on the line. They got some info out of the first preseason game, and they’ll get more Sunday night against the Rams.

Bell indicated that Sunday was by far the most guard he’s played in camp.

“I played a little bit at the beginning, I’d probably get two reps (in a period) at left guard, but other than that I was really at tackle,” he said. “But this is the most I’ve had since camp started. I was going three at right (reps) at right, three at left.”

Bell gave an impassioned breakdown speech before the team started practice.

He said he was “preaching enthusiasm.”

The line remains an issue and a mystery for the Titans.

Lewan opened camp with passionate talk of being a saltier, grittier, tone-setting group. The change in attitude, however, was more evident with the second- and third-stringers in Atlanta than it was with the starting group.

Whisenhunt said some of Bishop Sankey's issues running the ball against the Falcons were because of line play. Marcus Mariota was sacked on one play and got the ball tapped out of his hand for a fumble on another. That was returned for a touchdown.

Lewan said he was disappointed in the start, but there is a lot of opportunity for things to evolve.

“I don’t think we gave our best effort as a group, we need to do a lot more,” he said. “There is still so much room for error and for success. ... We really need to just continue to preach being physical and doing it every day. We’ve done it in practice, at times we got a little lackadaisical Friday.

“I think that when our second O-line came in, the third O-line, they came in with a presence and they did some good things. Our first group has the talent, we’ve shown that we can be physical. We just need to do it now on a consistent basis, and I think we will.”