For two years now, Aaron Brewer has been a valued swing man on the interior of the Titans offensive line.
Now, with the departure of Rodger Saffold, a cap casualty in the off-season, Brewer is getting his chance to win the left guard spot, competing with journeyman Jamarco Jones in camp for the position.
Brewer, who came to the Titans as an undrafted free agent in 2020, hopes to become the third undrafted from that Covid year to make an impact with the club, joining starting nose tackle Teair Tart and receiver Nick Westbrook-Ikhine as players to make that contribution.
“It’s great. That’s what I’ve been waiting on. Anyone who competes in this league, it’s their dream to become a starter to just compete for a position,” Brewer said. “I’ve come a long way from being undrafted in the Covid year. It’s a blessing to have this opportunity.”
Brewer, who played college football at Texas State, believes he might have been drafted had it not been for Covid-19 canceling visits by scouts and coaches to work players out and get to know them.
“I might have. Absolutely, from a work ethic, but I try not to think about it as much. I”m just blessed that the right opportunity came, because everything I’ve been through has made me who I am today,” Brewer said.
If he wins the left guard position, Brewer would be stepping in to replace Saffold, who is 6-5 and weighs 325 pounds.
Brewer, who has always been regarded as an undersized, but athletic lineman, is 6-1, but according to pro-football-reference.com, weighs just 274.
“I’m fast and twitchy. He was fast too, but he was strong as hell. For my size, I’ve got natural leverage, good instincts and I’m strong for my size. Just being quick, twitchy and powerful for my size and weight I am,” Brewer said.
The questions about his size can still spark motivation in Brewer.
“It used to fuel me - well, I can say it still fuels me, but I don’t really think about it as much. I’ve been getting the question for every. But I can continue to do what I’m doing and continue to let the questions come,” he said.”I’m going to compete every time. I”m not going to back down. I”m going to go in with 100 percent effort.”
Effort is one of the traits Titans coach Mike Vrabel likes in Brewer.
“He’s explosive, he’s quick and he’s tougher than a $2 steak. He understands angles and how to get to guys and understands pad level and technique,” Vrabel said. “Those are things that he can do that somebody that’s bigger can’t, just the way that he moves. I just like the way he competes. He shows up to work every day and is willing to compete.”
Vrabel said the Titans wouldn’t necessarily have to change much in their blocking techniques, just because a smaller, quicker player like Brewer could be replacing the much larger Saffold.
“I think there may be some game plan things that we would do, based on if there was an elite player was there,” Vrabel said. “But he’s executing all the same things, and I think he’s worked hard. And when he did have an opportunity, he played pretty well for us. It’s not like it wasn’t good. He’s helped us win games.”
After Thursday’s practice, the Titans got a visit from legendary professional wrestler Ric Flair. The Nature Boy is scheduled to have one last match on Sunday in Nashville at the Municipal Auditorium.
“I’m just honored that they think the world of me and think enough of me to bring me by the facility. This is a big deal for me to come over and talk,” said Flair, 73.
Coach Mike Vrabel, who said he plans to see Flair’s final match on Sunday, had a smile on his face when the subject of Flair’s visit was brought up Thursday.
“I just invited him over, and I was able to visit with him before practice, and he was excited to talk to the players. He brings an energy, and excitement and a passion,” Vrabel said.
The coach said Flair’s visit brought back memories of his childhood.
“Growing up and watching professional wrestling on Saturday mornings with my dad, that was something that we always did, and just listening to him give interviews and talks,” Vrabel said.
Burks on punt returns
First-round pick Treylon Burks was back for some punt returns during Thursday’s drill, and Vrabel did not rule out using him in that role in preseason.
“The most important (aspect) is that you can catch it, that you can secure the ball. I think that’s where we’re at right now. I think one thing he showed in college was that he was tough to tackle with the ball in his hand and could run after the catch,” Vrabel said. “We’re just trying to find as many places as we can to get guys who can help us. If he can catch and secure it and make the first guy miss, then he has a chance to help us. Most importantly, he has to catch the football.
“I think he’s getting more comfortable catching them and hopefully, we can see him out there in preseason.”
The Titans practice on Thursday basically was a jog-through not executed at full speed as the team gets ready to ramp up for padded practices that will come.
“What we’re trying to do is have an extended individual period, and kind of break it up throughout practice, just focus on technique, fundamentals, conditioning in those extended individual periods, and try to focus on the details when we get to the team stuff, and kind of pull back on the tempo a little bit. Hopefully, that’s going to benefit us throughout camp,” Vrabel said.
The Titans swapped out wide receivers on the roster, adding former Panthers and Jaguars wideout Terry Godwin and waiving Juwon Green.