Ryan Tannehill will be under center for the Tennessee Titans in 2022, but who will be protecting him? Three of five starters are essentially guaranteed with Taylor Lewan at left tackle, Ben Jones at center and Nate Davis at right guard. Elsewhere, left guard is considered a significant unknown entering late July’s training camp.
Offensive line coach Keith Carter recently confirmed that Jamarco Jones and Aaron Brewer are competing to start at left guard while speaking with local members of the media at last week’s organized team activities (OTAs). The offseason departure of Rodger Saffold has created a vacant spot at left guard. A battle between Jones and Brewer qualifies as intriguing with no particular player standing out as the early favorite.
Let’s analyze the options.
Making a case for Aaron Brewer
Brewer is entering his third season in Tennessee after making their final roster in 2020 as an undrafted free agent out of Texas State. He’s become a mainstay while serving as a versatile backup at both guard and center. Brewer started a career-high five games last season in relief of Saffold and Davis at both left and right guard. Brewer is viewed as a better run blocker than pass protector, and his 2021 performances confirmed that. Pro Football Focus assigned Brewer a grade of 48.7 in pass protection, and 60.7 as a run blocker.
Brewer has a high-level understanding of Tennessee’s offense. In 2022, he’ll be playing in his third consecutive season in Tennessee’s scheme, which remains much unchanged from Arthur Smith’s days as the offensive coordinator. Furthermore, Brewer has spent all of his professional seasons alongside offensive line coach Carter, who fully grasps Brewer’s makeup as a player.
That familiarity could serve Brewer well throughout this process.
Making a case for JaMarco Jones
Jones agreed to terms with the Titans on a two-year contract earlier this offseason that contained $3.15 million in guaranteed money. Jones is a swing lineman that can play both tackle and guard. He was a do-it-all player for the Seahawks last season while filling across several positions. Jones played 99 snaps at left guard, 21 at left tackle, 33 at right tackle, and 10 at tight end, via Pro Football Focus. He earned a run blocking grade of 60.3, and a pass-blocking score of 54.6, also via PFF. It’s worth noting the majority of Jones’ snaps last season occurred at left guard.
Jones is a four-year pro that possesses quite a bit of experience in comparison to Brewer. It’s worth noting the 2021 Seahawks ran some similar concepts offensively last season, but the two schemes aren’t a perfect match. Shane Waldron is Seattle’s Offensive Coordinator. Waldron previously worked under Sean McVay. Tennessee’s current offense was originally installed by Matt LaFleur, who also worked for the Titans after a stint under McVay. There should at least be some resemblance of similarity for Jones in Tennessee.
It’s far too early to make any definitive statements, but we believe Jones is the current in-house favorite. The Titans swiftly identified him in free agency, and Vrabel has a shared history with him dating back to his college recruiting days. It would represent Jones’ first full-time opportunity to be an NFL starter since he entered the league as a fifth-round selection of the Seattle Seahawks in the 2018 NFL Draft. Jones has been waiting for this opportunity.
The Titans didn’t draft any interior offensive lineman. Although they signed several undrafted free agents that can play both guard and center, this battle is going to be decided between Brewer and Jones via health/on-field availability, training camp and preseason performances, barring another free agency signing (we recently made a case for Ereck Flowers).
We’ll be following along with terrific intrigue. Stay tuned to MCM.