Just a few seasons ago the only strength of the Titans was the play of the offensive line. However, this line (especially the interior play) has been anything but strong. In particular, G Josh Kline has shown that he might not even deserve to be on an NFL roster, much less as a starter.
Kline’s poor play this season has been amplified over his poor play of last season, and to top it off he signed a 4-year $26 million contract extension to stay with the Titans even though he was the worst lineman on the team. Some were saying that the changes to the running game scheme would fit more into his skillset and prove that he is a definite asset to the team. However, so far this season, he has proven that he might actually be worse than previously thought.
His last performance against the Indianapolis Colts was particularly abismal. Over and over the Titans called running plays between the tackles, only to have them shut down, many times by the fact that Kline couldn’t manage to make the blocks required for the playcall. Too many times I saw Kline either on his back (from being overwhelmed) or struggling to keep his responsibility from making a huge play. Pro Football Focus grades him out as one of the lowest guards in the league this season. His play is another ding in the reputation of Jon Robinson’s recent miscues.
Since Kline has recently signed this extension, he is a very expensive cap hit if the Titans decide they need to part ways with him. This is especially troubling with the impending signing of the big-ticket players of Marcus Mariota and Jack Conklin. However, to ease the financial pain the Titans are one the top 5 teams with cap space.
Yes, there is still time left in the season for Kline to figure out how to play in this offense, but I think this will be a very open competition with whatever draftee or free agent is brought in during the offseason. My inclination would be that Kline has proven that he is not a fit for the Titans, and even though it would be an enormous hit to the bottom line, he needs to be cut sooner rather than later.