Titans don't think McCluster will take shots


Dexter McCluster didn't take any big shots that I saw during the Tennessee Titans practice against the Atlanta Falcons in Georgia on Monday.

But in padded practices through the first 10 days of camp, he's gotten knocked off his feet plenty of times.

Listed at 5-foot-8 and 170 pounds, McCluster needs to be in space to use his quickness against a defense. Carries and catches in more traffic will go to Bishop Sankey and Shonn Greene.

Even so, watching him work has lead a lot of us to wonder how he will survive NFL hits even if he's only taking a handful of the kind of shots we've seen in practices.

Ken Whisenhunt's said it's not a concern.

Running back coach Sylvester Croom echoed that recently and explained further.

"I'm not concerned about that at all because what he'll do is, the thing he and I have talked about, is make sure he stays low enough where they don't target his core," Croom says. "When we get to running where it gets low, he'll make them come down and play on his level."

Upon having that conversation, I saw snapshots in my head of times I saw McCluster take big shots in camp, and sure enough he's been upright. In a practice setting, players are urged to stay on their feet and keep others up too. In a game, McCluster will typically be heading down when big contact can arrive.

He's also not going to be asked to get in the way of giant pass-rushers very often.

"We never intended for Dexter to be a major pass-protector," Croom said. "He's been a very willing guy. We work on his technique so when the situations come up that he may have to pass protect he'll be OK in that. He will definitely use the cut block technique, which we cannot use on ourselves in practice. But he will use it in games, so that will help him. Dexter will be in situations where he will have the advantage a great number of the times."