New Tennessee Titans head coach Ken Whisenhunt is touted as a brilliant offensive mind in the NFL and for good reason. Last season, he took a San Diego Chargers team that looked old and in need of a complete roster overhaul and turned them around. The Chargers were 31st in the NFL in total offense in 2012, and in just one year Whisenhunt transformed them into the fifth-most potent offense in the league.
One of the ways that Whisenhunt completed that quick turnaround was his emphasis on running the ball to take pressure off of the quarterback. In just one year, Whisenhunt upped the number of rushing yards per game from 205 to 270, which opened things up for the passing game. It is this commitment to the running game that new owner/CEO Tommie Smith has said he wants to build the team around.
However, the Titans really haven’t made a big effort to bolster the running attack so far this season. They are one piece away from having a dominating offensive line, and that piece is Cleveland Browns center Alex Mack.
The Titans have a center, Brian Schwenke, who showed flashes of potential when he played last year. However, he has had multiple ankle issues in just one year in the NFL and for a player whose game is predicated on quickness and sudden motions, that could be bigger than most are talking about. Schwenke even had surgery this offseason to try to repair the ankle.
The Titans aren’t overly invested in Schwenke considering he was just a fourth-round pick in the 2013 NFL Draft. They also wouldn’t have to cut him as he could be a tremendous backup center or guard. That would give the Titans talented depth on the offensive line like they haven’t had in the past few years.
Mack is a dominating player who exemplifies the type of gritty and efficient play that you want from the center position. It would cost the Titans upwards of $10 million to sign him (just this year, not annually), but it isn’t like the Titans don’t have the money. After cutting or trading Chris Johnson, they should have upwards of $16 million to spend and unless they are going to extend Jurrell Casey. In that case, the money is likely just going to be wasted on overspending in the third wave of free agency.
This move may be a little too large for the Titans’ new ownership to agree to so early, but it is a move that would be a huge boost to the Tennessee offense and would be key in getting them out of the NFL cellar.