When coach Mike Mularkey said his mission this off-season was to fix the Tennessee Titans offensive line, he meant it.
While most penciled first-round pick Jack Conklin in as the team’s new starter at right tackle, Conklin spent a good portion of Friday’s rookie mini-camp on the left side. Conklin also spent some time on the right as well.
The same thing happened for rookie guard Sebastian Tretola, a sixth-round pick who should get in the left guard mix, but also found a bit of time over on the right side too.
“We moved Jack today, a little bit of left tackle, right tackle. Will Poehls has been playing the right side the majority of the time,” Mularkey said of the rookie camp.
While most expect Taylor Lewan, himself a first-round pick just two years before, to maintain the left tackle spot, the fact that Conklin is getting a look on both sides reveals that Mularkey and line coach Russ Grimm (who was absent Friday because of his daughter’s wedding) are serious about playing the best five linemen, regardless of where they fit.
The experimentation probably won’t last too long, as the Titans need to settle on a unit and go forward to ensure as much cohesion as possible.
“Hopefully, the sooner the better, but we’re going to move a lot of parts and see whose best and does it the way we want to do it. There’ll be some moving pieces up front,” Mularkey said.
For their part, Conklin and Tretola both say the extra reps on the opposite side of the line is beneficial.
“I’m finding out what the right tackle is doing, and I’ll know what the left tackle is doing, and I’ll be able to understand the whole scheme better,” Conklin said.
Tretola added that moving from side to side is really not a huge issue for him.
“I played left and right in college. It’s just a matter of the mind game,” he said, “One play, one way, the next play the other way, just on the other side. You’ve got to kind of decide in your head to make things a lot easier. It’s no big deal to me.”
The Titans have also talked about possibly trying veteran Chance Warmack to left guard as well. So for now, everything is open.
Also, even rookies on the defense are getting to learn some multiple spots, notably seventh-round linebacker Aaron Wallace.
“Aaron Wallace practiced at all four linebackers positions the first day,” Mularkey said. “That kind of gives you an indication of where he’s at and his ability to pick up things. You try to put as much on them and see what they can do, but you also don’t want to put so much on them that you put them in a position to fail.”