Tennessee Titans’ Spain looking to build off rookie year

Published 6:00 am Friday, August 5, 2016

Associated Press

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Quinton Spain has a much different pedigree than the other Titans linemen.

Spain is an undrafted second-year pro from West Virginia trying to maintain his status as the Tennessee Titans’ first-team left guard. Spain started the final six games for the Titans last season and has been running with the first-team line in camp.

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Contrast that with the Titans’ other four projected starting linemen. Tennessee’s line includes two first-round picks at the tackle spots in Taylor Lewan (2014) and Jack Conklin (2016), a first-rounder at right guard in Chance Warmack (2013) and a converted free-agent acquisition at center in Ben Jones.

Spain is doing all he can to maintain his role as a starter.

“I felt like I’ve done pretty good,” Spain said. “I’ve just got to keep moving forward and keep battling for the spot.”

In assessing Spain’s play through the first week of training camp, Titans coach Mike Mularkey offered some praise while also stressing Spain’s need for improvement.

“He’s been a little bit hot-and-cold,” Mularkey said. “More hot than cold, but when he’s had his mistakes, they’ve been pretty significant. I mean, they stand out. Not getting out on some screens, not covering up guys today.

“Again, he was an undrafted free agent last year that — he’s held his own, but the more he gets, the better he’s going to get, as well. He’s still in a competition at that left guard position.”

Spain’s primary competition should come from former starting center Brian Schwenke, Jeremiah Poutasi and rookie sixth-round pick Sebastian Tretola. The competition to determine the starting offensive line begins in earnest in the next couple of days.

The Titans have intentionally stuck with the same starters up to this point because they were still putting in offensive installations.

That process is near an end, allowing offensive line coach Russ Grimm to start playing a form of musical chairs to determine the eventual starters.

“We’re going to start rolling some people in there,” Grimm said. “I tell people all the time we’re not playing a game for real yet. So there are no set starters. So when you come out and you start stepping through stuff, you kind of keep guys at the same spot till we get the whole offense.”

“As of tomorrow, the whole offense is going to be in, so now you’re going to see guys that know the assignment so they can flip from one side to the other.

“I don’t want to flip them too early because they start getting confused and stuff like that. Once they learn the offense and now that we’ve got it all in, then we’re going to start shuffling some people around to see what we’ve got.”

As for how things fall, Spain isn’t fretting the competition.

“I’ve just got to play my game, and whatever happens, happens,” Spain said. “If playing my game is not enough, I can’t look back and say I didn’t give it my all.”