Wright making third-down impact for Titans

November, 1, 2012
11/01/12
4:20
PM ET
The list of the league’s top third-down receivers includes one very surprising name.

[+] EnlargeWright
Jim Brown/US PresswireKendall Wright, a rookie wide receiver, has played in all eight games this season for the Titans.
There, ahead of Wes Welker, Michael Crabtree, Victor Cruz, Brandon Marshall and Reggie Wayne is Titans rookie Kendall Wright.

Wright’s got an NFL-best 19 receptions on third down, ahead of Welker (17) and those other four (16).

And of those 19 catches by Wright, 14 have created first downs, tied with Wayne for the most in the NFL.

I asked Matt Hasselbeck why he and Jake Locker have looked to Wright so much in big situations.

“Probably trust, I think,” Hasselbeck said. “Third down is where, as a quarterback, that’s when they bring all their exotic stuff, that’s where they game plan for you specifically and you in those situations go to somebody that you trust.

“I was actually not aware of Kendall getting so many balls. But in my past, usually third down you need it. It’s not a time to just give it anywhere, I mean you’ve got to have it.”

Wright has made some nice progress, but I feel like he’s still underachieving. His biggest attribute coming into the league was an ability to take a short pass and run a long way with it, and he’s not broken off that sort of play yet.

“It’s coming,” he said when I spoke with Wright on Wednesday. “I don’t know when. It could be this game. It could be next game. I honestly don’t know when it’s going to happen. I’m positive that it’s going to happen, that I can make a short pass into a big gain.”

Paul Kuharsky | email

ESPN Tennessee Titans reporter

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