Updated: Oct 7, 2019
On Wednesday at about 1:30 pm, it was announced by the NFL that Titans all pro left tackle, Taylor Lewan, will be suspended for the first four games of the Titans season. Lewan was suspended for use of a Performance Enhancing Drug (PED). Many NFL players have been suspended for use of PED’s, and most notably, last season Patriots WR Julian Edelman faced a 4 game suspension similar to Lewan.
The first four games of the Titans season are four of the hardest games. The Titans face the Browns, Colts, Jaguars, and Falcons. The Titans will play two divisional opponents, and two solid teams. These four teams have all-pro caliber pass rushers that the Titans may struggle to block without Taylor Lewan. The Browns have former number one overall pick DE Myles Garret, the Colts have LB Darius Leonard, the Jaguars have a plethora of pass rushers including Yannick Ngakoue and rookie Josh Allen, and the Falcons have linebacker Vic Beasley Jr.
The Titans have multiple Tackles behind Taylor Lewan on the depth chart. Tackle Dennis Kelly who was acquired from the eagles in 2016, showed many good spurts of play last season. With injuries to Jack Conklin and Taylor Lewan last season, Dennis Kelly stepped in and played extremely well. Although Lewan is likely the best Tackle in the NFL, Dennis Kelly can come in and play at a very high level.
Left tackle is often considered the most important position on the offensive line. With a big loss to the offensive line, two things may suffer, the run game and pass protection. Prior to 2017 the Titans greatly struggled with protecting Mariota in the passing game and prior to acquiring Demarco Murray in 2016, the Titans had a very weak run game. Now that both the run game and pass protection have improved, the offensive line may take a step back with the core of the offense missing the first four games. Derrick Henry finished last season on a hot streak and his hot streak may be hindered by the suspension.
In the past, the Titans have won plenty of games without Taylor Lewan. Obviously the Titans are a better team with Lewan at LT, but I am not too concerned about the suspension. Just last season, the Titans beat the Texans without Taylor Lewan, and with Blaine Gabbert at Quarterback. Despite the Titans having a very difficult first four games, I do not think the suspension of Taylor Lewan will be the reason the Titans win or lose those four games.