Tennessee Titans: Kenny Britt

Checking in on Titans who moved on

August, 20, 2014
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Four of my NFL Nation colleagues were kind enough to share some feedback on how the four most notable former Tennessee Titans are faring with their new teams:

Rich Cimini on Jets running back Chris Johnson:

"He rushed for 63 yards on 10 carries in the second preseason game. Coaches say he has regained his vertical burst, but lateral quickness still not 100 percent coming off January knee surgery. He’s part of 3-man backfield. He feels he'll thrive because the Jets' offense is less predictable than Tennessee’s."

Tania Ganguli on Texans quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick:

"After a lackluster outing in his first preseason game, the Texans were much happier with Fitzpatrick's performance against the Atlanta Falcons this past weekend. He wasn't Tom Brady, but he got the job done. Coach Bill O'Brien said that's how the Texans need him to play."

Nick Wagoner on Rams receiver Kenny Britt:

"Britt has been one of the Rams' three best receivers in camp and has been a pleasant surprise in terms of leading the team's young receiver group. He's been especially helpful for Brian Quick, who is similar in size but needs work on how to use it. Britt is likely to be one of the team's starters when the season opens, though, as always, he needs to produce when the real games begin."

Pat Yasinskas on Buccaneers cornerback Alterraun Verner:

"He missed a ton of camp with a hamstring injury. He went from the third day of camp all the way through the end of camp until Tuesday when he returned to team drills. He’s missed a ton of time and getting used to a new system that’s obviously a problem. He said he’s been getting as many mental reps as he can, but he realizes he needs to get on the field. I don’t think he’ll play in the third preseason game because I don’t think he’s ready. I think they might throw him out there in the fourth game just to test him out."
The St. Louis Rams agreed to terms with former Tennessee receiver Kenny Britt on a one-year contract Monday night.

Britt spent his first five seasons with the Titans; the first two under now Rams coach Jeff Fisher's guidance.

ESPN Titans reporter Paul Kuharsky has been there for all of it so who better to ask about Britt's potential impact on the Rams?

Kuharsky and Rams reporter Nick Wagoner discuss the Rams' latest move.

[+] EnlargeKenny Britt
AP Photo/Mark HumphreyIn five NFL seasons, Kenny Britt has never caught more than 45 passes or gained more than 775 yards.
Wagoner: Britt had his greatest success under Fisher in 2009 and 2010, what can you say about the relationship those two had and do you think working with Fisher again can help him get his career on track?

Kuharsky: I think Britt needs a disciplinarian and Fisher is more likely to qualify as an enabler. I obviously don't know the style of coordinator and position coach in St. Louis. The late Mike Heimerdinger, Fisher's coordinator in Tennessee, was the big Britt backer and the guy who knew how to get to him and use him, I believe. I don't know whether Fisher can pick up on those things and reconnect with him.

Wagoner: Will be interesting to see whether the Rams can find the recipe to try to rekindle that early success. I'm sure offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer will comb through that old film and try to find ways to use him. On the bright side, Britt seems to have the ability to get off press coverage and win contested balls. That should be helpful.

Speaking of that, it seems Britt has always tantalized with potential but never been able to put it all together. How much has injury held him back and how much of it is his own doing? Do you think he can make the changes necessary to succeed?

Kuharsky: Britt always has a smile on his face. It's preferable to pouting, sure. But he's pretty happy-go-lucky whether he is lighting it up or completely tanking, as he did last year. I think that one-year contract is a reasonable risk. A team counting on production from him, instead of thinking any numbers he puts up are a bonus, is living dangerously. Certainly he's not been the same since the major knee injury. From my vantage point, at the end it was way more about his head than his knee.

Wagoner: The Rams have long been desperate for a No. 1 receiver. It seems expecting that from Britt is too much but what do you think would be reasonable expectations for him in St. Louis?

Kuharsky: Look at what Donnie Avery and Darrius Heyward-Bey did the past two seasons in Indianapolis after joining the Colts on one-year deals. I would hope Britt can get it together and be a bit better than those guys were. But if you made me bet? It's more likely he's close to those results.
Reading the coverage of the Tennessee Titans …

Looking back at what Kenny Britt said at the end of his time with the Titans: He thought he was subject to a double standard and expects to be a No. 1 receiver in the league again. From Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean.

The Titans blew the exits of Steve McNair and Randall Godfrey, remembers David Boclair of the Nashville Post. They can’t do the same with Chris Johnson.

Assessing the state of the Titan's special teams with Wyatt.

Mike Mayock of NFL Network had Washington’s Bishop Sankey as his No. 1 running back. It’s a spot where the Titans are sure to be adding someone.

Former Titans special-teams captain Tim Shaw has retired after a year out of the league, says Craig Peters of the Titans' website.

When the Titans drafted Kenny Britt 30th overall out of Rutgers in 2009, offensive coordinator Mike Heimerdinger was in love with the receiver’s physicality.

The ability to get off a jam at the line of scrimmage is difficult in the NFL, and if you can do that, Dinger said, a lot of things open up to an offense.

Now Britt will have a chance to do that for the guy Heimerdinger was coordinator for, Jeff Fisher. Britt struck a one-year deal with the St. Louis Rams.

At his peak, Britt did great work beating press coverage and beating people down field. He beat Arizona when he leaped and pulled in a last-play 10-yard touchdown in the 11th game of his career. He had a brilliant game his second season with seven catches for 225 yards and three touchdowns against Philadelphia.

Britt
Britt
He opened his third year with big back-to-back games for 136 yards and two touchdowns at Jacksonville and 135 more and a touchdown against Baltimore.

But a week later, he tore the ACL and MCL in his right knee against Denver. In 26 games over two seasons after his return in 2012, he went for 143 yards once and his second biggest receiving total was 67 yards.

Last year, after a solid camp where he looked poised to break out as he headed toward free agency, he wound up in the doghouse of Mike Munchak and Dowell Loggains over early drops and penalties.

Munchak and Loggains were fired after the season. Ken Whisenhunt hired John McNulty as his quarterbacks coach. McNulty coached Britt at Rutgers, but even with a likely ally on the Titans staff, Tennessee showed zero interesting in bringing Britt back.

He caused the team a lot of headaches with a bunch of off-the-field stuff. While he claimed to be an innocent victim, often targeted by police, he was simply around trouble too much.

He was unhappy with a coaching staff that was unhappy with him, and while he didn’t cause a stir, he didn’t set a great example either. Playing great or getting benched, he was typically laughing and seemed to be having fun.

While that’s probably preferable to moping, it didn’t cast him in a good light to much of the Titans fan base when it was paired with Sunday struggles.

I don’t know that Titans brass particularly cared about that part of his demeanor.

The Titans have spent two of their last four highest drat picks on receivers, with Kendall Wright in the first round in 2012 and Justin Hunter in the second round in 2013.

The arrival of those guys made it pretty clear Britt wasn’t a long-term Titan.

His poor final season absolutely ensured it.
Keith BulluckRich Gabrielson/Icon SMIKeith Bulluck was a mainstay at linebacker for the Tennessee Titans.
In April 2000, coming off a Super Bowl season, the Tennessee Titans had a solid roster and were drafting 30th.

With Randall Godfrey, Eddie Robinson and Greg Favors on the roster, the Titans weren’t in need of immediate help at linebacker.

The Titans drafted Syracuse linebacker Keith Bulluck anyway.

And for two years, he was mostly a special-teams player, starting just four games while the team stuck with experienced guys in front of him.

For the seven seasons after that, Bulluck was a permanent fixture at right outside linebacker, and after 10 seasons with the Titans he ranked as the best linebacker the franchise has had since it came to Nashville.

For the Titans, Bulluck is the ultimate model of drafting the best player available.

But best player available is largely a fantasyland idea. If the best player available when a team goes on the clock is a guy who plays a position where said team just signed its star to a long term-deal, guess what? It’s drafting someone else or looking to trade back.

Best player available typically means best player available at a position of reasonable need.

Let’s look at the Titans' last 10 first-round picks and the level of need the team had at their positions.

2013 – Guard Chance Warmack (10th)

The Titans were coming off a year with major injuries on their offensive line, and interior line help was priority one.

2012 – Wide receiver Kendall Wright (20th)

Nate Washington and Damian Williams finished the 2011 season as the starters, with Kenny Britt gone after three games with a torn ACL. The other Titans receivers, Lavelle Hawkins and Marc Mariani, were bit players at best. Wright was a bit of a surprise, but receiver certainly qualified as a position where there was room for a weapon out of the slot.

2011 – Quarterback Jake Locker (eighth)

The Titans parted ways with Vince Young and moved on from Kerry Collins to Matt Hasselbeck. With a new coaching staff in place, the team needed a young quarterback to build around.

2010 – Defensive end Derrick Morgan (16th)

The team’s top pass-rusher, Kyle Vanden Bosch, had moved on to Detroit as a free agent. And the contract clocks were ticking on Jason Jones and William Hayes.

2009 – Wide receiver Kenny Britt (30th)

The team’s 2008 receiving corps was Brandon Jones, Justin McCareins, Justin Gage, Lavelle Hawkins, Chris Davis and Paul Williams. There was not a dynamic guy in the bunch. Jones had moved on to San Francisco as a free agent and McCareins wasn’t going to be back.

2008 – Running back Chris Johnson (24th)

The Titans were ready to move on from Chris Brown, who signed as a free agent with the Houston Texans. The Titans needed someone to go with LenDale White in the backfield.

2007 – Safety Michael Griffin (19th)

The Titans were, mercifully, done with Lamont Thompson, whose game has devolved. Despite the need for a free safety, the Titans put on an extensive charade where they pretended Griffin would be a cornerback. He started 10 games at free safety as a rookie.

2006 – Quarterback Vince Young (third)

The Titans were ready to move on from an aging Steve McNair and Billy Volek had lost stock. It was time for the Titans to try to find their next quarterback, and the top guys – Young, Jay Cutler and Matt Leinart -- were all highly regarded.

2005 – Cornerback Pacman Jones (sixth)

Samari Rolle and Andre Dyson were the starters in 2004. But Rolle was gone after the season as part of an unavoidable salary-cap purge and Dyson went to Seattle as a free agent. Tennessee had a big need at cornerback when it drafted Jones.

2004 – Traded out of first round

The Titans picked tight end Ben Troupe in the second round, 40th overall. Frank Wycheck retired after the 2003 season, Erron Kinney’s knees were a problem and Shad Meier had established he was going to be a bust.

If all those guys rated as the best player available on the Titans' board, then one of two things happened:

  • The stars regularly aligned where the guy they rated as the best guy and a significant need corresponded.
  • Their boards were heavily weighted toward need.

Best player available is a rare thing, like Bulluck was a rare player.

Best player available at a position of need is usually what it really means.
Drops are surely subjective. You and I might look at a play and you’d say Phil should have caught it and I’d say he couldn’t have.

ESPN tracks drops and applies a strong benefit of the doubt standard. A drop has to be something quite obvious.

Pro Football Focus breaks down targets into catchable balls, and judges drops more harshly.

Both ESPN and PFF then compute drop rates -- ESPN simply by dividing drops by targets, PRR by dividing drops by catchable balls.

Britt
Britt
By any standard, Kenny Britt had a terrible 2013. ESPN says he dropped four passes, PFF counted seven.

Britt is a free agent, and the Tennessee Titans have no interest in bringing him back. He’s drawn a decent amount of interest and will be a reclamation project somewhere.

Another Titans receiver, Damian Williams, is on the market and looks unlikely to return unless his price drops.

No coach or player is going to say anything more than none is an acceptable drop total. But everyone drops some. Let’s sample three top guys at random just for some context on their ESPN drop rates from 2013: Detroit’s Calvin Johnson was at 5.2, Andre Johnson at 3.4 and Larry Fitzgerald 0.7.

I was spurred to look at the Titans’ drops as PFF has put out stories recently on receiver drops, running back drops and tight end drops.

Here’s how last year’s top pass catchers fared for Tennessee.

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Tuesday marks a week since free agency opened. Let's look at what has unfolded for the Tennessee Titans to this point.

Newcomers

RB Dexter McCluster (Kansas City) -- He looks to be more a running back than a receiver in their initial thinking. Catching passes out of the backfield will likely be his biggest role in Ken Whisenhunt’s offense.

DL Al Woods (Pittsburgh) -- The Titans have looked at a lot of versatile defensive linemen, and Woods is the one they’ve managed to add so far. He can play anywhere on a three-man line but provides a nice option in the middle.

LB Wesley Woodyard (Denver) -- He’ll bring quality leadership and is expected to fit comfortably as a 3-4 inside linebacker, a spot at which the Titans need to continue to upgrade their options.

QB Charlie Whitehurst -- A veteran quarterback who’s hardly played but was in Whisenhunt’s offense last year in San Diego. Will have more of a chance at playing time behind Jake Locker than he did behind Philip Rivers.

RT Michael Oher -- A big, durable, physical offensive lineman who’s in line to take over at right tackle. He’s been penalty prone and hasn’t progressed a ton in five years with the Ravens, but if he improves, he could be a big answer.

Visitors who remain unsigned

LB Akeem Jordan (Kansas City) -- Could be a good option as the short-area inside linebacker.

DT Pat Sims (Oakland) -- A run stopper who could likely contribute on run downs.

Re-signed

SS Bernard Pollard -- The outspoken thumper did a lot to help restore the Titans to relevance last season and fits very nicely with Michael Griffin in the middle of the Titans' secondary. Sounded fired up about the new regime.

DE Ropati Pitoitua -- A giant defensive end who did some good work in the 4-3 last season. He’s even better cast for the new hybrid front that will have a significant 3-4 element.

KR Leon Washington -- He settled the return game down substantially after he joined the team late in the season. McCluster could render Washington redundant, but starting out with multiple options for the return game is a good thing.

RB Jackie Battle -- The Titans are heading toward a committee of running backs. Battle should be the backup to the Shonn Greene piece of it plus a special teamer.

Signed away

CB Alterraun Verner (Tampa Bay) -- A very productive corner who was the Titans’ lone Pro Bowler in 2013. They never expected to get him back, and though his price wasn’t what his agent expected, he bolted to be part of the Cover-2 Lovie Smith will run.

Released

RT David Stewart -- Beat up and expensive after nine seasons, he sounded like he’s leaning strongly to retirement after he got the news from the only organization for which he’s played.

QB Ryan Fitzpatrick -- Interception prone and too streaky, he still ranked as a serviceable veteran backup in a bleak landscape for them. Whitehurst takes his place and saved the Titans a $500,000 roster bonus.

Still out there

WR Kenny Britt -- Interest in a reclamation project is reportedly coming from St. Louis, New England and Washington.

G-C Chris Spencer -- He’s a player the Titans could use back to work behind Andy Levitre, Brian Schwenke and Chance Warmack.

DT Antonio Johnson -- Has 3-4 experience from Indianapolis but with Woods added Johnson hardly ranks as a priority at this point.

WR Damian Williams -- A smart and versatile receiver. He can be good as the fourth or fifth guy, but it's a loaded free-agent pool and draft class at receiver.

Also: C Kevin Matthews, OT Mike Otto, QB Rusty Smith, C Rob Turner, RS-WR Marc Mariani.

Free-agency primer: Titans

March, 7, 2014
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video
» AFC Free-Agency Primer: East | West | North | South » NFC: East | West | North | South

Key free agents: CB Alterraun Verner, DE Ropati Pitoitua, KR Leon Washington, WR Damian Williams, DT Antonio Johnson, WR Kenny Britt.

Where they stand: The Titans re-signed outspoken, thumping strong safety Bernard Pollard, one of their most important free agents, with a two-year deal. He has spoken glowingly about the direction the team will head under coach Ken Whisenhunt and defensive coordinator Ray Horton. "We're going to be 11 dogs without leashes running around biting people," Pollard told a Nashville radio station 3HL. They also re-signed third-string running back Jackie Battle, who’s a staple special-teamer. It’s hard to know how other people project into the new systems that come along with a new coaching regime. The Titans have indicated to everyone on that list, beside Britt, that they are interested. But will the interest translate into new contracts?

What to expect: The Titans will wind up with a couple of their own guys back, though they are not desperate to keep anyone on the list. Verner is very likely to hit the market and find a team that puts a higher price tag on him than the Titans will. I believe Pitoitua can be a valuable piece of the new hybrid front, particularly in the run-stopping effort. Washington can bring a secure feeling to the return game. Williams is a smart and versatile fourth wide receiver, but there is a giant pool of free-agent wideouts and a quality draft class, so he'll need to settle for minimal money if he wants to stay and they want to have him. The team won't spend $100 million in free agency, as it did last year, but will make several key additions.

RTC: How Titans' free agents rank

February, 26, 2014
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Reading the coverage of the Tennessee Titans…

Alterraun Verner ranks 11th on this extensive free agent board from Evan Silva of Rotoworld. Kenny Britt is 112th, Ropati Pitoitua is 136th, Damian Williams 145th, Bernard Pollard 150th.

To which I say: If Silva's rating of Pollard reflects the league, the Titans might have an easier time retaining him than some of us expect.

The Titans drafted 2.5 percent better than the league average from 2004 to 2008, according to Jon Bois of SB Nation. This is an interesting piece evaluating how the league has drafted overall, based on how guys have developed.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter talked about the state of the Titans with Amie Wells of the team’s website. (Video.)

RTC: While Mike Munchak is in limbo

December, 31, 2013
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Reading the coverage of the Tennessee Titans ...

Mike Munchak is waiting for a meeting with Tommy Smith after which he will learn if he gets to coach for a fourth year, says Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean.

To which I say: What else can Munchak say right now?

Kenny Britt said the Titans held him to a double standard regarding drops, says John Glennon.

To which I say: The Titans gave him too much of a chance to recover from his troubles, not too little.

If Munchak is back, he’ll talk more of the plan at quarterback, but he lamented missing Jake Locker for nine games in 2013, says Glennon.

Munchak’s numbers don’t match up to the best or worst of the other coaches hired in 2011, says David Boclair of the Nashville Post.

Munchak said again he doesn’t think a lot of changes are needed for the Titans to make a jump, says Teresa Walker of the Associated Press.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Pro Bowl cornerback Alterraun Verner is allowing room for sentiment on Sunday.

As he takes the field for the Tennessee Titans against the Houston Texans, it will creep into his head that it could be the last time.

Verner has a great feel for the game and a knack for being around the ball and breaking things up.

“Definitely that thought has occurred to me, but it’s not overriding where I am letting that emotionally distress me or get me away from the game,” Verner said. "It’s definitely crossed my mind that this could be [it]. Could be.”

[+] EnlargeTennessee Titans' Alterraun Verner
AP Photo/Patric SchneiderThe price tag looks to be high for defensive backs Alterraun Verner, No. 20, and Bernard Pollard, both free agents at season's end.
He’s timed things up well. After such a solid season, his price may be at an all-time high. I’m sure the Titans would like to keep him. But they’ve spent two recent offseasons trying to give his job away to Tommie Campbell and clearly see Verner's speed as a deficiency in an otherwise solid game.

Future: They should certainly try to keep him. But at this stage, there is no reason for him not to wait for free agency and check out the market. And I’ll bet a team that thinks it’s a corner away will offer him something bigger than the Titans will.

A look at other guys for whom Sunday could be The Last Time.

Running back Chris Johnson

We’ve written frequently about the cost-versus-production equation for Johnson, most recently here. St. Louis fifth-round pick Zac Stacy has a few more yards and a slightly bigger yards per carry average this season. Stacy made $581,500 in 2013. CJ made $10 million.

Future: It’s not working, as Johnson hasn’t been the playmaker he sold himself as when he got the big contract after three years. He won’t take less money – or sufficient responsibility, for that matter. They should move on.

Right tackle David Stewart

He broke his leg late in the 2012 season and has never returned to form, with all sorts of nagging injuries slowing him down this year. He’s questionable for this game with a shoulder injury. He’s been a tough, physical presence for the team for a long time. But he’s due $6.4 million in 2014.

Future: The Titans cannot pay him that much next year.

Strong safety Bernard Pollard

He’s delivered on what the Titans asked when they signed him for one year, providing attitude and toughness to go with solid play. They’ve used him smartly and if he’s not back they will have a hole that will be difficult to fill in both production and leadership.

Future: They should try to keep him, but it’s unclear what the market will offer. Surely there will be a multi-year deal to be had. Will the Titans offer one?

Defensive end Kamerion Wimbley

He’s not been a fit for the Titans, who grabbed him in 2011 after their failed pursuit of Peyton Manning. When they focused solely on him meant Mario Williams went to Buffalo. Even if there's a new staff and it wants to run a 3-4 that’s more suited to Wimbley, he’s not worth $6 million in 2014.

Future: It’s long been presumed he will be cut.

Wide receiver Damian Williams

He got benched for the Arizona game because of a violation of team rules, but such a slip was totally uncharacteristic. He’s a bright guy who can play every receiver spot. He’s ideal as a fourth with potential to be a solid third.

Future: They should re-sign him.

Wide receiver Kenny Britt

The last year of his initial contract has been a disaster during which he lost confidence and was unable to catch the ball consistently. He’ll likely be inactive again Sunday. In a new setting, perhaps he can recover. But he’ll get a minimum contract or something close to it, when a big season would have set him up as a free-agent prize.

Future: It’s elsewhere.

Quarterback Rusty Smith

He’s been the team’s developmental quarterback for four years, and he could never work his way to a place where the team wanted him to be the No. 2. He ended up in that spot only because of injury.

Future: If he’s not a No. 2 by now, it’s time to move on. Tyler Wilson was a late signing, and should take over the Smith spot as the developmental quarterback.

Defensive end Ropati Pitoitua

Started very strong but hasn’t been as good down the stretch. He gives the Titans good size in their run-down front and would benefit from better linebacker play.

Future: Worth keeping at the right price and contract length.

Defensive tackle Antonio Johnson

He’s a workmanlike run-down defender who’s a good piece as a role player.

Future: Shouldn’t be hard to keep.

Also with expiring contracts: Returner Leon Washington, returner Marc Mariani, running back Jackie Battle, wide receiver Kevin Walter, offensive tackle Mike Otto, interior offensive linemen Rob Turner and Chris Spencer.

Washington won't talk 2014 salary cut

December, 23, 2013
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Kendall Wright and Justin Hunter are very much the future of the Titans at wide receiver.

Sunday in a win at Jacksonville, Nate Washington showed he’s very much part of the present. He pulled in six catches for 117 yards and the game-winning touchdown.

He’s the team’s third leading receiver with 56 receptions, and second in receiving yards with 880.

[+] EnlargeNate Washington
Jim Brown/USA TODAY SportsReceiver Nate Washington is second on the Titans with 880 receiving yards.
When the head of the team’s new ownership group, Tommy Smith, listed some young players he considers the Titans’ core, he also mentioned Washington and his leadership.

Washington has been an important influence on Wright and Hunter.

“It’s brothers, man,” Washington said of the receivers room. "It’s a room that I think the organization has been working to put together for a long time. I think they can really sit down right now with our room and be satisfied with all the hard work they’ve put in.”

Washington would certainly like to see things kept intact next season, though Kenny Britt is heading for free agency and certainly won’t be back. He’s hardly contributed this season. Damian Williams is also in line to be a free agent, and he’s a versatile piece I believe the team should try hard to keep.

Whether the Titans make a coaching change or not, there is potential they could choose to move away from Washington, who is 30. Heading into the final year of his deal, he’s due $4.8 million in 2014. It would be the final year of a six-year deal, and it’s pretty rare for a player to play out a long second deal with high cap numbers.

If they came to him and said they wanted to keep him at a reduced price, he wouldn’t be upset, but he wouldn’t negotiate either, he said.

“All I can do is play football,” he said. “If I’m in Tennessee next year, I will be very gracious. I love Tennessee, I love the people, I love the organization. If I’m here next year it’d be awesome. But I understand it’s a business ..."

If they wanted to reduce his salary?

“It’s time to move on, man,” he said. “If that’s the way they have to approach it, I understand.”

I agree with Washington that the receivers room is one of the best things the Titans have going for them. He has a big salary scheduled, but the team is not in line to be cap-strapped. If they are going to overpay someone, why not him? Yes, you want to get rid of a guy a year too early rather than a year too late, but I wouldn’t mess with a position where things seem to be in good order.

RTC: Five moments Titans would change

December, 19, 2013
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Reading the coverage of the Tennessee Titans …

Six one-possession losses provided a lot of big moments this season. John Glennon of The Tennessean look at five moments that could have changed everything for the Titans.

To which I say: Some additional context -- four of the team’s five victories have been one possession wins.

Zach Brown is still puzzled by his benching, Tyler Wilson practiced with the Titans for the first time and Coty Sensabaugh went to IR writes Glennon.

The Titans have paid Kenny Britt more than $71,000 per catch this season, writes The Tennessean.

If the Titans lose their final two games, they’ll be the first team since the AFC South was created to go winless in its division games, writes David Boclair of the Nashville Post.

Looking ahead to the game in Jacksonville with Amie Well of the team’s web site. (Video.)

Replacement receivers hardly practiced

December, 15, 2013
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Tennessee Titans were without receivers Justin Hunter and Damian Williams Sunday because of a violation of team rules.

I credit Mike Munchak for making them inactive. He could have kept it quiet and played Hunter, who would have helped the team as the coach fights for his job.

Tennessee lost, 37-34, to Arizona in overtime.

Without Hunter and Williams, the Titans turned to Kenny Britt and Michael Preston as their receivers behind Kendall Wright and Nate Washington.

Britt caught three of six passes thrown his way, for 29 yards. He let a late touchdown pass go through his hands. Preston caught three of five passes targeting him for 27 yards and the Titans' two fourth-quarter touchdowns.

Britt said he had not played a snap of offense all week in practice. Wright said that was the case for Preston too, but Preston corrected him and said his offensive snaps were "sparse" -- five to 10.

It was a solid combined performance from two guys who were not in the plan. But things would have likely been better with the guys who were in the plan.

"They broke some team rules," Munchak said. "The consequence was that they didn't suit up today."

A couple of us caught up to Williams as he left the locker room.

"It definitely lets the team down and I definitely am ashamed that I let my team down," he said.

He left open the idea that things we're so cut and dried, however.

I asked if it was more complicated than people might guess.

"Possibly," he said. "[But] the situation is that we violated team rules and that's it."

Rapid Reaction: Tennessee Titans

December, 15, 2013
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Rapid reaction from the Tennessee Titans' 37-34 overtime loss to the Arizona Cardinals at LP Field:

What it means: The Titans sprang to life, rallying from a 34-17 deficit with 6:13 remaining, pulling even with 10 second left and forcing overtime. But Ryan Fitzpatrick threw his second interception to Antoine Cason on the first drive of overtime, and the Cardinals moved to a 41-yard Jay Feely field goal that won it. The Titans lost for the eighth time in their past 10 games, falling to 5-9 and guaranteeing a losing season.

Stock watch: Receiver Michael Preston, stuck on the practice squad for most of the season, caught two fourth-quarter touchdown passes from Fitzpatrick late in the fourth quarter as the Titans got it to 34-34. Preston had room to shine because Justin Hunter and Damian Williams were inactive for violating team rules. Kenny Britt dropped what would have been a touchdown before Preston caught his first one.

Evening out: It wasn’t long ago that Bernard Pollard was called for a bad penalty for hitting a defenseless receiver and Shonn Greene was flagged for unsportsmanlike contact for apparent taunting. The Titans were later told they were bad calls. This time it was the Cardinals who drew the penalties, and they may hear the same about a Rashad Johnson hit on Britt and a taunting call against Daryl Washington. The Titans felt like they lost in part because of those calls against them. They didn’t really use them in their favor as a springboard to win this one. A roughing call against Calais Campbell at the start of the Titans’ second-to-last drive helped produce a 24-yard Rob Bironas field goal that spurred the comeback.

What’s next: The Titans travel to Jacksonville looking to avenge a 29-27 loss on Nov. 10 to the previously winless Jaguars at LP Field.

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