The Tennessee Titans decision this week to give offensive lineman Byron Bell first-team reps at left guard is one coaches say was a few months in the making.
Bell, who has played tackle throughout his first four seasons in the NFL, has supplanted normal starter Andy Levitre - for this week at least.
Titans offensive line coach Bob Bostad said the idea for moving Bell came from OTAs, where injuries at center forced the Titans to slide Levitre over from his usual spot. In his place, the team gave Bell reps at guard and liked what he did.
"In the spring, we noticed he was a nifty guy in the (guard) reps we gave him," Bostad said, per John Glennon of the Tennessean. "We actually had him at left guard as soon as we had him in here. So this isn't one of those deals where we said, 'Oh, gee whiz, why don't we do this?' We had watched him all spring and said, 'You know, the kid has some ability inside.' "
Bell, who signed with the Titans in April after four seasons with the Carolina Panthers, said he's enjoying the move inside.
"I think things have been going good -- just learning how to play tighter corners now after being out on that edge," Bell said. "But I like it in there. I get up on guys quick and I think my girth -- my size -- helps me out a lot. I feel like I move pretty good in there and I play strong."
Whether Bell beats out Levitre for the starting job remains to be seen, but Bostad said Bell's transition from tackle to guard is one not every lineman can make.
"It's a whole different world on the inside, a different style of play. You have to have a certain level of athleticism and there are some other things you have to be good at," Bostad said. "You just can't take it for granted that some guy on the outside is going to walk in and play inside."
(h/t The Tennessean)
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