Dec 30, 2012; Nashville, TN, USA; Tennessee Titans wide receiver Darius Reynaud (25) avoids the tackle from Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker Greg K. Jones (53) and returns the punt for a touchdown during the second half at LP Field. Titans won 38-20. Mandatory Credit: Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports
The Tennessee Titans have plenty to ponder this offseason but one of their biggest questions they’ll have to deal with is how to address the Marc Mariani/Darius Reynaud situation. Mariani has been a great returner for the Titans but broke his leg this past preseason, opening the door for free agent Darius Reynaud to make an impression and find his way on to the Titans roster.
Reynaud did a good enough job, despite sometimes taking the ball out of the end zone when he shouldn’t have, to give the Titans something to think about. Here’s a comparison of Mariani’s and Reynaud’s return stats over the past few years, courtesy of pro-football-reference.com:
As you can see, it’s tough to separate them using their stats as they’re nearly identical. One of the biggest factors that may effect their decision may be how well Mariani returns after having his leg so horribly broken. Mariani’s big selling point was his straight speed, which made him hard to catch once he found his seam.
If Mariani returns this next season with that same speed, it’ll be a toss up between Reynaud and Mariani earning return duties. Reynaud’s biggest flaw is his over-eagerness to take the ball out of the end zone, which often set up the Titans mediocre offense inside their own 20 yard line.
The problem with keeping both of them is that fact that the Titans are kind of bursting at the scene with WR’s:
Courtesy of NFL.com
Even with just one of them being kept as a kick returner and Michael Preston being returned to the practice squad, the Titans would still have six receivers. That’s probably the number that they take into the season, but with neither Reyaund nor Mariani has shown much in the receiving department. That being said, Hawkins didn’t do much in the 2012 season after receiving a nice extension.
I’d hate to be the guy who has to make these decisions. Both Mariani and Reynaud seem to be great guys and obviously talented returners. Perhaps whoever the Titans next offensive coordinator is will be the guy who makes the decision. Either way, I wish both the guys luck.
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