Friday, November 30, 2012
Will Washington do more with Locker?
By Paul Kuharsky
In his first two seasons with the Titans, Nate Washington looked like an overpaid free agent miss. He was good for a periodic big play, but he also dropped a lot of balls and made a lot of excuses.
I remember speaking with a powerful personnel man about Washington. He said the Titans had overspent on a guy who was very good when plays broke down and got extended by a scrambling Ben Roethlisberger in Pittsburgh, but very average on a regular play that lasted a regular length of time.
Last year, with a big assist from new receivers coach Dave Ragone, Washington blossomed in a big way. He was a much more mature locker room presence, he was a quality leader on and spokesman for the offense, and he posted career highs in the big three categories with 74 catches for 1,023 yards and seven touchdowns.
Playing mostly with quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, Washington’s yards per catch were the second-lowest of his career -- 13.8.
Still, among active players with at least 300 catches, Washington’s 15.0 ranks eighth. (Vincent Jackson is first, at an outrageous 17.9. Calvin Johnson is second at 16.2, the rest are 15.6 or below.)
Washington was good at turning into a target for Roethlisberger under Pittsburgh’s scramble rules. The Titans thought he would do the same for Vince Young in a relationship that never really panned out.
Now, with Jake Locker healthy and set as the Titans' quarterback, Washington is working for another mobile quarterback with the chance to make some especially big plays when Locker can extend a play and coverage is asked to last too long.
Here’s a look, thanks to Matt Willis of ESPN Stats and Info, at Washington’s yards per catch by quarterback.