Tennessee Titans offensive coordinator Chris Palmer told Paul Kuharsky of ESPN.com that newly acquired veteran guard Steve Hutchinson is “the glue” of the Titans offensive line. The team was looking for upgrades on the interior during free agency, and Hutchinson was the biggest catch and is already showing his effectiveness to Palmer and the team.
“He’s the glue of that offensive line right now,” Palmer said when talking about Steve Hutchinson. “He’s a veteran that’s played a lot of snaps, he knows how to play the game and I think he settles everyone down up front… ”
The Titans are a solid pass blocking unit, but the team’s run blocking was horrible last year, especially on the interior of the offensive line. Hutchinson’s strong suit is actually pass protection at this age- it always was, actually, but the gap is wider now- but is better than what the Titans had last year. Eugene Amano is still slotted in as the team’s center and is finally looking to take that jump after recent injuries and some awful performances.
Steve Hutchinson has always been regarded as a leader, and his leadership couldn’t be more important right now for an offensive line that sorely needs one. Chris Johnson had a down year last year, and most of it had to do with subpar run blocking from the offensive line in front of him. Elusive backs need the line to give that push to get the back started, and that didn’t happen for Johnson last year.
This is a team that hasn’t had strong leadership in the interior of the OL since Kevin Mawae, so bringing in a guy like Steve Hutchinson is a huge help and has already manifested himself in practices. He has been a leader and is setting an example for Amano, and the former Seattle Seahawks superstar could be the guy to get Amano on track and finally fulfill his potential.
The Titans definitely don’t have any problems with their two tackles in David Stewart and Michael Roos, as both are two of the better tackles in the NFL. Right guard Leroy Harris is the weak link and the line lacks depth, especially in the interior. The Titans look like they will wait one more year with Amano at center after not replacing him, and let’s see if he can bounce back after an injury and keep his spot as the starter. Steve Hutchinson is here to help with much-needed leadership, and he looks like a good offseason acquisition already.
He may not be a great player anymore, and he isn’t even a good guard anymore in terms of talent. But his veteran knowledge, leadership, and decent pass blocking skills overcome his deficiencies as a run blocker due to age.
You can follow Joe Soriano on Twitter @SorianoJoe.