It’s likely that no one among the Tennessee Titans is more comfortable than Ryan Fitzpatrick with the fact that Chris Spencer will start at center Thursday.
The backup quarterback who – again – takes over for the injured Jake Locker is as familiar with the view from behind the 6-foot-3, 308-pound Spencer as he is with anything in the offense.
“Jake goes down [Sunday] and Chris runs over to me and says, ‘Hey, you want to get some snaps?’” Fitzpatrick said. “I said, ‘No, I’m fine’ because that’s the guy that I always work with. Chris and I have worked together so much just throughout training camp and practice and all that stuff.
“With him in there, there’s really no concern at all.”
For everyone else in the organization, the ninth-year veteran represents the latest change at a position that has been the definition of instability.
When he takes the field against the Indianapolis Colts (7:25 p.m., NFL Network) Spencer will be Tennessee’s third starting center this season and the sixth in the last 14 games. He follows rookie Brian Schwenke, the starter the last two weeks who has an ankle injury, and Rob Thomas, who is on injured reserve with a shoulder injury. Kevin Matthews (twice), Fernando Velasco (once) and Kyle DeVan (once) all had the job during the final four weeks of last season.
Not coincidentally, Matthews was re-signed Tuesday. The son of offensive line coach Bruce Matthews split time between the active roster and practice squad for the previous three seasons. He was in training camp with Washington this year but was cut prior to the regular season.
His return provides depth for the interior of the offensive line, a role Spencer filled until now.
Regardless of who started through the first 10 weeks of the regular season, Spencer was No. 2 at center on the depth chart, which meant he worked almost exclusively with the No. 2 quarterback. More often than not, that was Fitzpatrick.
A first-round draft pick (26th overall) by Seattle in 2005, Spencer started 70 games in six seasons with the Seahawks. He spent the last two years with Chicago and started 19 times. He signed a free agent deal with the Titans during the offseason.
“He is a veteran,” offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains said. “You see the first-round talent that he has. He’s an older guy so he’s been around and seen a lot. But there’s still some things we need to correct even with a veteran player.”
He does not, however, need to get acquainted with his quarterback.
POSTDATA: WARRANTY DEEDS