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 »This Week in History
Tennessee Titans
INSIDE SLANT

  Inside Slant | Notes, Quotes | Strategy and Personnel | Player Wire

  Tennessee Titans cornerback Jason McCourty underwent groin surgery Monday, coach Ken Whisenhunt said.

The team is hopeful he can return in time for the season opener Sept. 13 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

McCourty, 28, hasn't missed a start in three seasons and last week expressed frustration over the injury that has kept him out since early in camp.

"I hate missing practice," McCourty said Thursday, per the team's website. "I think no matter how long you have been in the league, everybody needs it. So it is killing me not to be out there. I am just ================

TENNESSEE TITANS

================



Titans rebuilding wall for Mariota
The focus shifted lately in the Tennessee Titans camp. All eyes are still on rookie quarterback Marcus Mariota, but after two preseason games, significant attention is on the men up front charged with protecting him.

The Titans offensive line, a concern for a few seasons, has not been up to par since it was anchored by the likes of Kevin Mawae, Michael Roos and David Stewart, who helped Chris Johnson run for more than 2,000 yards in the 2009 season.

But that was then, and this is now a problem the Titans have to get fixed sooner rather than later as the regular season is less than three weeks away.

After the first preseason game, a loss to the Atlanta Falcons, the Titans made two bold moves in hopes of improving the line. The coaches benched left guard Andy Levitre, now three years into a $46.8 million contract and originally believed to be a great addition when he came on board in 2013. He was advertised as the best free-agent guard on the market.

Replacing him after the first preseason game this year was Byron Bell, formerly the right tackle who spent time as a maligned left tackle in Carolina last season.

The next change was to insert rookie Jeremiah Poutasi, a third-round pick being groomed to eventually start anyway, into the right tackle spot.

"You know it's funny, just like last week when I talked about practice, there were some good things, some bad things," head coach Ken Whisenhunt said following Sunday night's win over the Rams. "I don't think the line played as badly as you guys made it out to be last week and I don't certainly think that we played maybe as good as we might think they did last night, but they were physical.

"We started the game better and I certainly liked that. When you play a defense like the Rams, one that will give you pressure, that move the front, that penetrate, you're going to have some fits that aren't great and we had that last night. There are some technique things that we have to continue to correct, but as a unit I thought they did a good job."

As the Titans head to Kansas City to face the Chiefs Friday night, the same five players will start on the line and possibly into the season opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sept. 13.

Whatever combination the Titans go with, an interesting aspect is whether or not Levitre will be with the club going forward.

"I'm on the team, I'd love to stay here," he said on Tuesday. But the veteran guard declined to elaborate on much else regarding his demotion.

The Titans seem high on young linemen like center Andy Gallik and guard/tackle Will Poehls and might be tempted to keep younger, cheaper backups instead of Levitre, who is set to make $6.5 million in base salary this season.


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