NASHVILLE — Taylor Lewan isn’t the only experienced voice on the Tennessee Titans offensive line.
It just speaks louder. And more often than most.
“Yeah, I’m nasty,” the three-time Pro Bowl left tackle said. “Noisy and obnoxious.”
Now in his ninth NFL training camp, Lewan hasn’t mellowed out much, if at all, since he was the 11th overall pick in the 2014 draft. He has a well-earned reputation as one of the most passionate and open about the game, or at any position, and he’s still hot and cold based on a variety of factors, from his own performance to the officials’ calls (or no calls). ) in the game state.
What he feels in each moment is not a mystery. Anyone within range, even at this time of year, is likely to know.
“I mean, I usually always listen to him,” coach Mike Vrabel said. “But I think he brings an energy that’s critical on the training camp and in practice.”
What has changed, of course, is what he knows about the professional game and his team. Lewan has been with the Titans longer than any player on the roster other than punter Brett Kern and is one of six who have been throughout Vrabel’s tenure as head coach.
This has given him permission to speak when he feels something needs to be said.
Although now she also knows enough to know that sometimes boys get tired of hearing about it.
“Check on the guys,” Lewan said. “And it’s easy to find out what guys need if you ask them what they need. It’s not like I’m sitting there guessing, “Well, it looks like Nick needs this and Dillon needs this and Ben needs this from me.”
“I go over and say, ‘Hey, do you like it when I do X, Y and Z?’ Most of the time, it’s ‘yeah.’ Sometimes it’s, ‘Hey, I’m better this way,’ and I usually try to serve those guys the best I can because at the end of the day we all have to work together really well.”
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Still, there’s a player in the locker room with the license to tell him to get on. A younger Lewan wasn’t as willing to listen to center Ben Jones as he is today, but six years and 83 starts (including the playoffs) together have fostered an appreciation for each other that allows for a rare level of honesty.
“You see how much I put into things, how much it means to me to win and be a part of this unit,” Jones said. “And it took time. He’s a guy I trust.
“… We have been together. So I know when their highs and lows are. And when I need a little nudge or when I need to say, “Hey, relax,” he’s a guy I can push. He’s a guy, no matter how the game goes out there, I can look out there and tell him, ‘Hey, we’ve got to pick it up’ or ‘Hey, we’ve got to get on with it.’ It doesn’t matter if I yell at him or praise him, he will maintain the same attitude towards me.”
Jones’ words are shocking because he is much more measured and thrives in the traditional anonymity that comes with the offensive line. The prospect is one Lewan has come to admire.
In short: Jones is the Yin to Lewan’s Yang.
“The epitome of consistency,” Lewan said. “The tail end of the offensive line, that’s what Ben is. I’m a very energetic cat, and Ben is the same every day. Me and Ben, we’ve been together for seven years, and that’s special.”
Likewise, Vrabel knows exactly what he’ll get from Lewan, and that includes some uncertainty. The talk is a constant. The desire for others to benefit from their experience has become commonplace. The passion is relentless.
The coach is happy with anything as long as it’s applied in a positive way, which hasn’t always been the case throughout Lewan’s career.
“I’m just looking for some consistency,” Vrabel said. “We told him that’s great, just be the same guy every day. And it’s important, that kind of energy and attitude and leadership is critical, that he stays there every day.”
As steady as his voice, you might say.
“It’s a unique thing being an offensive lineman and how I run my mouth a little bit and how I play,” Lewan said. “So it might be different for some people.”
Talking is nothing new for him. It is the impact of what he has to say that has changed over time.