Titans O-line coach sees potential for strong pocket, surge for running game

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Being big isn't priority one for the Tennessee Titans on their offensive line.

If the right combination is the biggest combination, that will be fine with coach Ken Whisenhunt. But he's said repeatedly the team seeks the right mix.

That mix right now is, left to right, Taylor Lewan, Byron Bell, Brian Schwenke, Chance Warmack and Jeremiah Poutasi.

Warmack was out for Tuesday's practice after having a toenail removed, but is expected back soon.

The move of Andy Levitre (6-foot-2, 303 pounds) out of the starting five drops the smallest guy from the starting mix.

The lightest among them now are Lewan (307 pounds) and Schwenke (318 pounds) and the average weight is now 325 pounds; the shortest is Warmack (6-foot-2).

After coaching the Wisconsin offensive line for two terms, Titans offensive line coach Bob Bostad has a propensity for big guys.

"Everybody at the end of the day would do it if guys could move at those sizes," Bostad said. "I've always wanted big guys inside. But the thing that you give up is foot speed and reaction time and things like that sometimes, just because guys may not be as quick.

"The thing I think those guys can give us is a strong pocket, a place for the quarterback to step up and some surge in the run game."

A clean pocket for rookie quarterback Marcus Mariota is a huge deal, as is the run game that can emerge if the Titans can consistently get that surge.

Whisenhunt indicated the Titans will go with the same starting five on the line Friday night in Kansas City. Barring an injury issue or a huge dud, it seems increasingly likely this will be the group the Titans look to on Sept. 13 in Tampa Bay.

"Is bigger always better," Whisenhunt asked earlier this week.

The Titans have gone bigger, so they are sure hoping so.

Meanwhile, odds are increasing that Levitre will be cut after two seasons of a six-year, $46.8 million free-agent contract. They can't pay a backup a $6.5 million base salary.

Giving up on him would still cost them $2.1 million against the cap this year and $4.2 million against the cap in 2016.

Levitre said he'd love to stay, per Terry McCormick.