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Callahan, Defending Titans Offensive Line, Says Pass Protection Is Everyone’s Problem

Sixty-four sacks allowed. Struggling left tackles. Mock drafts predicting a lineman as the team’s first pick. But new Tennessee Titans coach Brian Callahan tells critics that every offensive player has a role in pass protection.

NASHVILLE — New Tennessee Titans coach Brian Callahan knows the numbers that cost Mike Vrabel his job:

  • Consecutive losing seasons, including just six wins in the past 24 games.
  • The stagnant offense, averaging little more than 17 points a game and ranking near the bottom of the NFL in several offensive categories.

Many people blame the Titans' poor offense on their offensive line, which allowed 64 sacks and made life miserable for quarterbacks Will Levis and Ryan Tannehill. 

The left tackle tandem of Andre Dillard and Jaelyn Duncan specifically allowed 29 of those 64 sacks and every mock draft so far has the Titans taking a lineman with the No. 7 pick in the 2024 NFL Draft. 

But Callahan spent several minutes at his introductory press conference Thursday  correcting the accepted opinion. 

"There's a lot of things that go into (pass) protection. Some of it starts with as simple as you got to go win. You got to win versus tight coverage," Callahan said. "Protection is an everybody problem. The quarterback's got to get rid of the ball on time. They have to work through progressions quickly. So to say that it's a specifically the offensive line needs to fix the protection problem, I don't agree with that."

Callahan expressed his desire to hold offensive linemen accountable but also emphasized that pass protection is a team effort that involves every member of the offense, including the quarterback. 

"I think it's a holistic offensive issue if you have protection problems. There's a lot of ways you can help weaknesses, highlight strengths and everybody's involved in the process."

The Titans have salary cap flexibility and a top-10 pick in the upcoming draft. There will be opportunities for the team to improve its offensive line. 

"As far as profiles of offensive linemen and players, obviously you're looking for the guys that are great at pass-pro," Callahan said. "You're looking for guys that can anchor, guys that got great length.

"But schematically you can help a ton. You can chip, you can bang edges. Back's got to be fantastic in pass protection. They got to know who to block and how to block them. So, it's a holistic offensive issue. So, our job is to find a way to make sure everyone knows all the specifics of what we're trying to get done, and then they can technically go execute it."

NFL Draft experts predict that the Titans will select one of two offensive tackles with the No. 7 overall pick: Notre Dame's Joe Alt or Penn State's Olu Fashanu.

After those two players, Pro Football Focus (PFF) lists these college offensive tackles among the top 100 players available, with their overall ranking in parentheses:

  • Taliese Fuaga, Oregon State (12)
  • JC Latham, Alabama (17)
  • Amarius Mims, Georgia (23)
  • Jordan Morgan, Arizona (27)
  • Troy Fautanu, Washington (36)
  • Graham Barton, Duke (37)
  • Kiran Amegadjie, Yale (44)
  • Tyler Guyton, Oklahoma (49)
  • Patrick Paul, Houston (54)
  • Kingsley Suamataia, BYU (68) 

One free-agent possibility familiar to Brian Callahan is Bengals tackle Jonah Williams, 26, whom Cincinnati selected with its No. 1 pick in 2019.

Williams started all 17 games in 2023, allowing eight quarterback sacks. reported that Williams' 2023 PFF grade was 59.1, or 82nd among all offensive tackles.

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