The Tennessee Titans thrive when their offensive line is dominating the game, but they’ll have a tough time doing so the rest of the season without left tackle Taylor Lewan.
Lewan went down with a knee injury during Sunday’s game against the Houston Texans, and it was revealed Monday that he tore his ACL. Now that he’s out for the season, it’s a devastating blow to a Titans team that loves the ground-and-pound style of play.
Taylor Lewan is a premier offensive tackle
When fans think about the Titans’ recent success, they credit Ryan Tannehill and Derrick Henry for bringing the offense to life. But their jobs are made much easier when Taylor Lewan is in the lineup.
Lewan is one of the best left tackles in the NFL today, and when he’s on his ‘A’ game, the Titans can do whatever they want offensively. Henry won the NFL’s rushing title last season with 1,540 yards, and he’ll be the first to tell you Lewan was a huge reason why.
Last season, Lewan scored the seventh-best run-block grade in the NFL among all left tackles, according to Pro Football Focus. He also allowed one or no pressures in nine of his 12 games played last year, which ranked second among all offensive tackles.
Tennessee’s offense has been humming this season thanks in large part to Lewan, but they’ll have to battle the rest of the way without the former Pro Bowler.
The Titans lose their $80 million star for the season
During the Titans’ game against the Texans on Sunday, Lewan left with a knee injury. After the game, NFL Insider Jay Glazer reported the Titans feared Lewan tore his ACL.
Lewan underwent an MRI on Monday to determine the extent of the injury, and he gave Titans fans the grim update most were expecting.
“I wanted to let everyone know I got an MRI today. I Tore my ACL yesterday against Houston. Don’t feel sorry for me, I’m going to handle this rehab like a Pro and come back better than ever. Thank you Titans fans for your support. #NoBadDays,” Lewan said in a tweet Monday.
Who will replace Lewan on the offensive line?
The bad news for the Titans is that their premier left tackle won’t be back on the field this season. The good news is Tennessee is more than equipped to deal with a loss on the offensive line.
When Lewan left last week’s game with a shoulder injury, Ty Sambrailo replaced him at left tackle and filled in admirably. Sambrailo is surely a downgrade from Lewan. No one’s arguing that. But he’s been a successful offensive tackle for three different teams now, and he can bandage the wound left by Lewan on the left side of the offensive line.
Sambrailo played two seasons with the Denver Broncos and three with the Atlanta Falcons before joining the Titans in the offseason. He’s played in 62 games and even started 13 during his six-year career, and the Titans should feel confident with a veteran in the lineup instead of an unproven rookie.