Before yesterday, things were going PRETTY PRETTY PRETTY good for the Titans, their offensive line and of course, Ryan Tannehill. A clean pocket is a happy pocket and it has shown through 6 weeks. And after 5 games, Derrick Henry is the #1 rusher in the NFL, and it’s not even close. He’s averaging 117 yards per game, an astounding 20 yards more than the #2 Dalvin Cook (97.8).
And of course, our very own Taylor Lewan is one of the biggest reasons for these ridiculous stats. Prior to the season starting Will asked Taylor whether he felt disrespected by the NFL 100 list and where Taylor fell. The main reason that Taylor wasn’t higher wasn’t because he didn’t ball out last season, because he did. The reason why was because he was suspended in the beginning of the season for unknowingly taking a banned substance.
At the time that podcast was filmed, Taylor seemed to be on a mission to prove to people he was one of the top LTs in the league.
If you want to listen to the episode where Taylor and Will talk about their season goals, check out the link below.
And this season, has gone just about as good for Taylor from a performance stand point as you could ask for. He was banged up, but still showing how good he could be. Titans undefeated and then… all of a sudden in last night’s game.
Right knee injury. Oh. No.
Two plays later, that O Line dominance was breaking down. JJ Watt decided to abuse Taylor’s replacement and bad things ensued.
The game changed completely the moment Taylor left the game, and even though the Titans squeaked out the win, with Taylor out, the Titans’ OL is now up in the air. And Taylor just tweeted out what we all feared. Torn ACL.
That fucking sucks. After all of the weirdness of the offseason, the Titans moving their bye weeks, dealing with multiple positive COVID tests and playing two games in 6 days, this happens.
I’m heartbroken for Taylor and the Titans as a whole. I really really hope this isn’t true.
It appears that RT Dennis Kelly might move over to LT and rookie Isaiah (Panda) Wilson will get the start at RT. Fortunately, Wilson was just activated from the Covid list and started practicing for the first time since camp this week, but this is a tall ask of any rookie. If anyone can pull it off, it’s Panda.
The worst part about this is how well the Titans have been playing. They are legit Super Bowl contenders, but losing a star like Taylor is a serious blow, and a lot of people will have to step up to keep their forward momentum. The team looked significantly worse for the rest of the game but they gutted out a win, a sign of their resiliency.
Of course we’re all hoping for a speedy recovery for Taylor, but this is definitely a setback for the Titans. We’ll see how Vrabel and the boys respond. One thing I know for sure, though, is that Taylor will be back and AT IT again as soon as he is medically cleared. And the NFL better look out, because that monster chip on his shoulder? It just got a whole lot bigger.
PS - I recently had Panda on an episode of 3MT; he’s a funny and cerebral dude, if you haven’t seen the episode, definitely give it a watch.