The Tennessee Titans offensive line has been a mess through three games this season.
The Titans have allowed 17 sacks in those three games, and now it appears as if changes could be coming very soon.
Left tackle Taylor Lewan is still another week out from returning from his four-game suspension.
But the right guard spot has been a major issue, leading to Jamil Douglas being benched in favor of Aaron Stinnie late in the Titans’ 20-7 loss at Jacksonville last Thursday.
Rookie third-round pick Nate Davis was the leading candidate to win that job in training camp before he went down with an injury that cost him all of the preseason. The Titans then turned to Kevin Pamphile to start at right guard, but he injured his knee and following arthroscopic surgery, remains out.
Now, it appears as though Davis, inactive the first three games, is getting closer to being put in the lineup – perhaps as early as Sunday in Atlanta.
“I want to try to play Nate and see. The only way that you can see, again to you all’s point, was the games,” Titans coach Mike Vrabel said when asked about Davis Monday. “In some of these practices, there’s one padded practice a week, or in last week’s case, none, those are difficult things. So, we’re going to have to try to get him ready to go as soon as we possibly can, and I’m hopeful that that’s this week.”
Vrabel admits that the missed time Davis had during the preseason has cost him, but he is hopeful the rookie from UNC-Charlotte can hold his own.
“It’s just a lot of reps. A lot of reps that through training camp you have, and preseason games where you’re out there and you’re able to maybe run some of your base-core concepts and start to build a routine on what certain blocks need to look like, and feel like, and reacting in pass-rush situations, and bodies around you in live pass rush where – you know, one-on-one pass rush is one thing, but the rest of the guys usually scatter when there’s a move by the defensive player,” Vrabel said. “Then in the game, there’s other bodies, there’s legs, there’s traffic. There’s I think a lot that goes into it, but we’re trying our best to get him, and I know he is. He wants to get back, and he wants to try to help this football team.”
Davis, who has practiced since the start of the season, but has yet to see his first game action, has been eager to go.
“Obviously, it’s a little challenging. You’ve just got to keep a good perspective on everything and just trust the process and learn from the vets,” Davis said before the season opened of the challenge of catching up. “I’ve got a really good group of guys who have kept me informed and kept me updated. The coaches are still behind me and I’m just trusting the process.”