Two years ago, as the Tennessee Titans had Kyle Vanden Bosch and Albert Haynesworth together on the right side of the defensive line, the team would maximize the defensive line’s disruptiveness and force opposing offenses to game plan accordingly.
Now, with Haynesworth suiting up for the Washington Redskins, the Titans are again tinkering with the defensive line formula, trying to find the best combination to use against opponents. And one of those experiments involves sliding defensive tackle Tony Brown from the left side to the right side, not only for versatility’s sake, but to see if that combination can help offset some of what was lost with Haynesworth.
Brown, who has spent the past three seasons as mostly a left defensive tackle, is fine with giving it a try.
“It’s just something that [defensive line coach Jim Washburn] mentioned to us that he wanted to see some people at some different spots,” Brown said. “They want to mix it up just in case something comes up.”
Jason Jones is getting time at both spots, while Jovan Haye got some first-team work on the left side Wednesday in organized team activities, as the Titans wrap up off-season work over the next two weeks. Brown said both Jones and Haye appear to be more comfortable on the left side, and if that is the case, he will gladly shift over.
“I don’t care. Whatever is going to benefit the team is fine with me,” Brown said. “I feel like if you need me on the right, that’s fine or if you need me on the left that’s fine. It doesn’t matter to me.
“They both like to be on that side, and I don’t have a problem with it. I could say, ‘Hey, I’d like to be over there on my side, but that would be selfish.’ We’re trying to win, so there’s no sense in being like that. It’s just an experiment.”
Titans coach Jeff Fisher said the OTAs are the time to experiment with such moves and to add to the line’s versatility.
“Tony is working both positions right now. We’re trying to get Tony familiar with both spots,” Fisher said. “We’re versatile, and this is the time to get people used to doing things they may not be comfortable with.”
Vanden Bosch likes the idea of playing next to Brown, if it comes about.
“Last summer when Albert wasn’t around because he was having contract issues, I wound up next to Tony throughout all the OTAs,” Vanden Bosch said. “I like playing next to Tony. With Tony, I know what I’m going to get. He’s a real good player. He’s got a lot of athletic ability, and he’s going to come hard every play.
“I think we had some real good things going in OTAs, and I’m looking forward to working with him again.”
So where will Brown end up along the defensive front?
“If I was a betting man, and Wash was to ask me what I needed to do to help the team, and there’s somebody that likes to be on the left side, then I’d kick over to the right side. If it came down to that, I’d probably be over there,” Brown said.