Life Without Jack
The Tennessee Titans have much to look forward to for the upcoming season. Among those things to look forward to is the return of right tackle Jack Conklin. Obviously, the bar was set high immediately for Conklin being the number 8 pick in the draft. It’s safe to say Conklin didn’t disappoint. In fact, he overachieved. As a rookie, he started every game, surrendered only two sacks and was flagged just twice. All this led to being named to the Associated Press All-Pro first team. A bit of regression was due, but Conklin still had another productive season his sophomore year. He started every game for the second straight year. However, a torn ACL suffered against the Patriots in the postseason has clouded the start of the upcoming season.
One of the big questions going into this season is Jack Conklin’s health. There has been a constant concern that Conklin won’t be ready for the first month of the season. Yes, this would be a significant loss. It indeed would not be the end of the world though. If Conklin misses the beginning of the season, I think Dennis Kelly would be a sufficient replacement. In a recent Titans mailbag, Jim Wyatt briefly answered a question regarding the offensive line. In the mailbag, Wyatt was asked how our offensive line has been adjusting to the new zone blocking scheme. Wyatt’s answer may surprise some of you.
“The o-line is adjusting, but I have to admit there have been a lot of moving parts during the offseason with Jack Conklin out and Taylor Lewan missing time during June. It forces other guys to move around to different positions. Spain has had a solid offseason, but he’s going to have to hold some other guys off. Kevin Pamphile, formerly with the Buccaneers, has really impressed me. He can play guard, but if Conklin is not ready, he could be needed at tackle. Some questions also surround Lewan, of course. Cody Wichman has come on at guard at well, so keep an eye on him in the competition. I do think the new system is a good fit for Josh Kline.”
Now, competition is never a bad thing. It’s good to know that people will be competing for the position. You’d like to think that knowing others are competing for your job, you’ll have some extra motivation. It was pretty much the prevailing thought that Dennis Kelly would start if Conklin missed time, it seems it may not be that simple. Whether it’s Dennis Kelly or Kevin Pamphile filling in, we will be okay.
To avoid further worry, I’d say the worst-case-scenario is that Conklin misses the first month of the season. With competing back-ups in the mix, this shouldn’t be the end of the world. Calm down Titans fans, yes Conklin is a crucial piece of the line, but we need him to be 100% to avoid further injury. He will be an integral part of our line for years to come. We will have one of the best tackle combos in the league for the foreseeable future.
Take a deep breath Titans fans, it’s all going to work out. It’s all going to be okay, no need to worry.