The Tennessee Titans finally had a relevant passing offense in 2011. Most of the credit should go to veteran quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, but the supporting cast of wide receivers were an exciting bunch.
Kenny Britt- He is the only wide out on the roster that opposing defenses fear, but he can’t stay healthy. His first two games of last season were dominant, racking in 271 yards and 3 touchdowns, but unfortunately he suffered a season ending ACL tear in week 3 against Denver. Britt can be a top 5 wide receiver if he can stay on the field, but his first 3 seasons have become somewhat of a letdown due to the injury bug. His size, speed, and catching ability are as good as it gets. Combine that with a competent quarterback and Kenny Britt is our star receiver for years to come. Let us cross our fingers that he can make it through a full season next year playing like the all star he can be.
Nate Washington- Nate is a quick and elusive route runner that had his best season to date catching 74 balls for 1,023 yards and 7 touchdowns. He also rushed for a score on what seemed to be a play specifically designed for him to catch it after the line of scrimmage, but who cares a score is a score. He was Hasselbeck’s favorite target and a true pro. He battled through injuries and caught everything in site. Washington is a coach’s player that seemed to get better as the season went on. With all due respect though, I think Washington is best suited for the slot. The NFL is turning to a passing league and I believe every team should have at least 3 starting receivers. Washington won’t receive less targets in the slot, instead he will be able to work the underneath routes and be the hot read on blitz packages. He just isn’t the outside threat that Kenny Britt is, or Damian Williams can become.
Damian Williams- I want to start out by saying I am a lot higher on Williams than many fans on the internet are. Receivers don’t usually pop off until their third year in the pros and Williams’ progression seems to be following that path. In his second year he hauled in 45 receptions for 592 yards and 5 touchdowns. Those are solid numbers for a second year receiver. Williams doesn’t possess the size of Kenny Britt, but he will certainly show Titans fans this season that he belongs in the NFL as a #2 wide out. His big play ability is something Matt Hasselbeck raves about.
Lavelle Hawkins- The Hawk also had his best season in the NFL catching 47 balls for 470 yards and 1 touchdown. His agility and hands have made him a formidable 3rd down option. He signed an extension with Tennessee this off season, so he is all but cemented as our 4th wide receiver on the depth chart. I am happy with that. The coaches seemed to like his work ethic and on field performances enough for the new deal, so lets hope it only improves next season.
Mark Mariani- Mariani hasn’t had a chance to truly show what he is capable of, but that may be due to the fact he isn’t capable of much. He is a solid returner, which is different than a game-changing returner. He doesn’t screw up, but he likely won’t break one for a score unless the blocking is perfect. With all that said I fully expect Mariani to be our return man again next season and for good reason. Let me clarify the previous statements. Mariani does his job, and he does it well. With that said, nobody is afraid of him returning. He gets the ball passed the 20 nearly every time, but he certainly doesn’t have Tommie Campbell speed.
Notice a trend? All our receivers are getting better and with exception to Britt they are staying healthy. If Kenny can stay on the field we have a deadly set of wide outs, but that is a big if.