During my little hiatus, the Titans made one roster move of note I have not yet commented on, signing veteran right tackle Barry Richardson last week. Richardson played and started all 16 games for the Rams at right tackle. He joined the Rams after beginning his career with the Chiefs, who selected him out of Clemson in the sixth round in 2008. He played right tackle for the Chiefs, starting there from 2009 to 2011.
Given the caliber of tackle play around the NFL and the new-found emphasis on the right tackle between the Colts paying Gosder Cherilus a boatload of money and the Chiefs and Jaguars taking right tackles at the top of the draft, it's a surprise to see a fairly young (Richardson is just 27) right tackle who's started every game for the last four seasons signing a minimum salary deal in mid-June. The answer, unsurprisingly, is that Richardson has not shown he's more than a replacement-level player. The Chiefs and Rams started him because they didn't really have anyone else.
Why did the Titans sign a replacement-level player? Simple. They needed somebody else who knew was he was doing at offensive tackle. David Stewart is still rehabbing his broken leg. They were holding Michael Roos out with back spasms. Mike Otto and Byron Stingily were the only non-UDFA rookie tackles on the roster. The Titans were already light at the position and were one tweaked muscle away from having the first-string offense practice against the defense in minicamp with an unheralded rookie at one of the tackle positions. They added a bunch of offensive linemen this offseason, yes, but all of them were interior linemen with nary a tackle among the bunch. The only surprise was they didn't add a tackle with at least some experience earlier, though they probably sniffed around a few and didn't find one who wanted to come in for no or minimal guaranteed money and four incumbents in place.
Does Richardson have a shot to make the team? I'm not going to say he doesn't. I'm not sure what the Titans think about Byron Stingily, who did not really impress me in his two starts to close the 2012 season. Munchak after one of the OTA sessions said he was doing well and did a good job when he played, but also indicated he needed to be in the competition for swing tackle. I don't see Richardson as a left tackle at all, so I think Otto's secure in that role while Stingily is more of an open question. If the Titans don't think he can fill Otto's role in 2014, then it wouldn't surprise me to see them go with Richardson or even somebody else to play that fourth tackle role.
I still haven't started caring about the offensive line injuries. Munchak noted that he would have expected Andy Levitre to play if the Titans had a regular season game the weekend before minicamp. Both he and David Stewart have been doing individual work. Stewart's just a bit over six months removed from breaking his leg. Since he's a veteran, I won't start being concerned at all unless and only if he misses both the third and fourth preseason games. Michael Roos's back spasms may be the bigger concern, just because you never know, but our best indicator is what the Titans do and they signed a pure right tackle for cheap not a guy who can play left tackle. The Titans have more bodies on the interior and I didn't expect him to make the team, so Chris Spencer missing time barely registered on my radar.no comments