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Jon Robinson: Offensive line cohesion needed, along with talent

The Titans are counting on tackle Taylor Lewan to develop into a reliable starter. AP Photo/James Kenney

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Tennessee Titans' long list of issues might well start with an offensive line that has not jelled close to sufficiently in several years despite big investments.

New GM Jon Robinson said Tuesday morning in a visit with The Wake Up Zone in Nashville (on the station I am also on) that cohesion ranks up there with talent when it comes to the offensive line.

We’ve seen that from New England this year, where injuries have often meant a patchwork group this season. That group has played well enough for the Patriots to advance to the AFC Championship Game on Sunday.

Asked if he sees five starters for the Titans on the offensive line on the current roster, Robinson gave an interesting answer.

"I don’t know if any team in the NFL has what I would call five true starters, that are starting-level players," he said. "Now there are a lot of guys that start in the league that I might not consider starting-level players.

"With the offensive line in particular, those guys have to really do a good job working together. They have to communicate to pass off twist games and pick rushes and all that type of stuff. So with those guys in particular, we want toughness, we want the ability to communicate. They have to be smart, they have to be dependable in there in order for the line to succeed. They all have positives and negatives to their game that they can work on or things that they are really good at. If they work well as a group of five, that’s really the key for line play in my opinion."

The incumbent offensive line is riddled with questions, and the coaching hire will be significant. Per Alex Marvez of Fox Sports, Mike Mularkey will choose either Russ Grimm or Pat Flaherty.

  • Left tackle Taylor Lewan was not consistent enough in his first two years, but is equipped to be a top guy with the right coaching and maturation.

  • Left guard Quinton Spain was an undrafted rookie who played ahead of third-round rookie Jeremiah Poutasi.

  • Rookie Andy Gallik struggled after replacing Brian Schwenke, who suffered a terrible injury early on.

  • Right guard Chance Warmack hasn’t come close to living up to his 2013 first-round draft status.

  • Right tackle Byron Bell was up and down and isn’t under contract.

Sorting through that group and putting together a five-pack that can help create a run game and offer high-level protection for Marcus Mariota is crucial.