We continue our trip around the Titans position by position this preseason with a look at the offensive tackles.
Offensive tackle has probably been the best and most reliable position across the Titans’ roster for the four previous seasons. While the left of play in 2010 was less than it had been in previous seasons, it was still very good, and both tackles should also benefit from the continuity in the interior of the offensive line as well.
Michael Roos is entering his sixth straight year as the Titans’ starting left tackle after spending his rookie year at right tackle. He’s not a classic road-grader, but instead tends to be a smooth and efficient blocker both against the run and against the pass. 2008 was probably his best season to date, while 2009 was still very good and 2010 was almost a shocker. Even with a down year in 2010, I thought he still graded out as an above-average NFL left tackle and hopefully he’ll have a rebound year in 2011. Back problems cost him some time early in training camp, but he’s returned to action and should continue his streak of never missing a game.
David Stewart enters his fifth full season as the Titans’ starting right tackle. He moved into the lineup early in 2006 and has only missed one game since then. 2009 was probably his best year, as he, Scott, and Alge Crumpler paved hole after hole on the right side for Chris Johnson. The Titans are hoping he, Scott, and Daniel Graham or Craig Stevens can replicate that experience this year. He missed the second preseason game with a hamstring injury that troubled him this training camp, but seems to be recovered. Like Roos, he’s under contract through 2014, but 2014 is a voidable that I’m assuming will void.
Mike Otto looks poised to spend another year as the primary backup at offensive tackle after signing a one-year deal as a restricted free agent. Like former Titan Jason Mathews, he’s a swing tackle also capable of playing guard. He started for Stewart at right tackle against the Rams this preseason, and can also play a little guard. He also saw some irregular work last year as a blocking tight end. I’m not sure he’d be a quality starter, but the Titans could do worse for a fill-in.
Troy Kropog has nominally been Roos’s backup at left tackle, but is clearly behind Otto in the tackle pecking order and has had trouble getting into the lineup on gamedays. Since we rarely see him, plus he’s missed time this preseason (including last night’s game against the Saints), it’s tough to evaluate his play.
Byron Stingily was a seventh-round pick as a development tackle. Like Kropog, he’s had injury woes this preseason, but with Kropog’s apparent lack of progress and Otto not under contract after this year, he has a shot to stick on the roster but likely won’t play.
Pat McQuistan is nominally a tackle, but has played primarily guard for the Titans this preseason. Andrew mentioned him in the guards positional analysis, so I won’t cover him at length. From what I’ve seen of him before joining the Titans, I wouldn’t count on him for much.
Adam Terry is a right tackle only who at his best for the Ravens was a pretty good road-grader and a bit of a liability in pass protection. Knee injuries and his recent history suggest he’s not that good now.
I’m not fully confident how the depth will shake out and who makes the team, but as long as Roos and Stewart don’t get hurt, offensive tackle should again be among the Titans’ most reliable position groups.
What’s been a position of stability for the past four-plus seasons should again be a position of stability for the Titans in 2011, as starters Michael Roos and David Stewart return.