With the left guard spot still an open competition after two preseason games, the Tennessee Titans gave rookie Sebastian Tretola some reps with the first group on Monday.
That process will continue throughout the week with Brian Schwenke also being worked in to compete with Tretola and incumbent Quinton Spain.
“He got in a little bit in the walk-through segment,” Titans coach Mike Mularkey said. “I know for sure Tretola went in there with the ones and got some reps. We’re going to make sure he gets some reps in these next couple of practices.”
Time running out
With the regular season fast approaching, the Titans need to settle on a starter at left guard in order to help solidify the offensive line. Tretola, a sixth-round pick, has made progress through the off-season and into camp by dialing back some of his aggressive tendencies, according to Mularkey.
“He’s a little more patient, and seeing things a little bit better, the line games, the stunts that are happening in front of him,” Mularkey said. “They’re slowing down a little bit for him. Again, a lot of that was his over-aggressiveness to try and be physical. He’s just got to be patient and let some things unfold in front of him. He’s gotten better since he’s gotten here.”
Tretola said he learned that lesson the hard way a few times in camp, and it is one he is still working to perfect.
“That’s probably one of the biggest things, because guys are a lot better with their hands here. In college, you can get in there and kind of head-butt a guy and rough him up a little bit,” Tretola said. “You can’t do that here. You’ve got to be faster and quicker with your hands, and I think that’s gotten a lot better since I’ve been here.”
Opponents have been using Tretola’s aggressive style against him, especially in pass protection to get him out of position. Mularkey said the rookie will have to channel and control his aggressiveness.
“It is good to a point, but in pass protection you’ve got to be careful. There’s a lot of moving parts in front of him. You can’t stick on one,” Mularkey said. “He’s had some issues with it. He’s going to continue to have it, until everybody sees that, ‘Hey, he can stop it.’ That’s like Jack (Conklin) on the right side, until he stops that inside rush, he’s going to keep getting tested with it.”
That is something Tretola says is a work in progress.
“It’s hard, especially when you have an aggressive personality. Naturally, I’m an aggressive guy and getting to this level, you’ve got to kind of scale it back. You’ve got to know when you can go and when you’ve got to kind of sit back and let things come to you. It’s been hard, but I’ve definitely gotten better with it.”