Sunday, August 28, 2011
Receivers are the stories for Titans
By Paul Kuharsky
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Tennessee Titans got good news about Kenny Britt: he’s not suspended.
They got mixed news on Nate Washington: he settled in and made a couple catches. He and Matt Hasselbeck fixed one early mistake and made it into a play that worked.
They got bad news on Damian Williams: he had two drops and no catches until the Titans targeted him a sixth time.
Receivers are always an issue for Tennessee, and they still have a lot to sort out. They were flat in a 14-13 preseason win over the Chicago Bears at LP Field Saturday night, winning on the strength of a 90-yard interception return by rookie corner Tommie Campbell off a gift-wrapped throw from Caleb Hanie.
Britt found out early in the evening he won’t be suspended for his chain of issues with police during the lockout. He said after the game he was pleased. When camp started, he’d said he needed to get out of New Jersey where most of his problems have occurred. His wife and daughter are now with him in Nashville, he said, and he intends to be a Tennessean going forward.
He said he hoped never to hear from Roger Goodell again unless it was to convey a message of "good job on the field."
Britt has dealt with a hamstring issue since the start of camp, has been limited in practices and has yet to play in a game.
“One of my hopes is that he can get out there and start taking reps with the offense instead of taking reps with the scout team,” Hasselbeck said. “We didn’t have an offseason, we didn’t have OTAs and now we really didn’t have training camp together. So it would be great to get on the same page. You saw tonight, there was a lot of sloppy play in the passing game. Mixed reads and mixed signals and just some missed opportunities. We need to get that cleaned up.
Among the missed opportunities: Two throws intended for Washington on the Titans' first possession. Washington didn’t seem to me to go hard enough after the first pass up the right side. The second pass up the left side was overthrown.
“We missed a seam route on the second play of the game,” Hasselbeck said. “I thought he was going to do this and he did that. We talked about it on the sideline, [offensive coordinator Chris Palmer] came over, we talked about it and said, ‘Next time we’re going to do this.’
“And later in the game we had a similar thing going the other direction. It was tighter coverage, it was a tougher throw, it was a tougher catch and he did it great, I think that was the -yard catch that he had.”
Williams, meanwhile, is a guy I’ve been pushing. I’ve bemoaned why the team won’t give him every opportunity to work ahead of Justin Gage.
He had his chances against the Bears, and didn’t do a lot with them. Hasselbeck said the team started working Williams at Britt's split end spot five or six days ago looking to expand things for him, and praised the second-year man's solid camp. But he dropped two passes and was a non-factor in five targets before a 13-yard reception.
“I think it was just a bad game,” Williams said. “Fortunately they haven’t seen any of those from me other than today. We’ll go back and watch the film and we’ll correct it.”
Britt’s presence eases the pressure on the rest of the crew provided his hamstring is sound.
Newly added Kevin Curtis didn’t play. A guy the Titans courted in 2007, when he was a coveted free agent who chose Philadelphia, has since beaten testicular cancer and dealt with knee problems.
“It’s kind of on me,” he said of his chance. “We’ve got one game left, the window is kind of small. I’ve got one game to show them that I can help them out.”