Kendall Wright returns to action this week after missing the last three games, and will be playing for his third head coach in four years. After a mixed bag of results under the first two, it will be interesting to see how Wright fares under interim head coach Mike Mularkey.
The Tennessee Titans selected Wright with the 20th overall pick of the 2012 draft. In his rookie season, he co-led all rookie receivers with 64 receptions.
No sophomore slump for Wright in 2013, he led the team in targets (140), receptions (94), and yards (1,079).
Mike Munchak was the head coach those two years, and under his watch, Wright was on the fast track to NFL stardom.
In 2014 the Ken Whisenhunt regime began, and coincidentally or not, so did Wright’s decline. In his first year in coach Whisenhunt’s system, Wright’s numbers fell dramatically (57 catches, 715 yards).
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Coach Whisenhunt would say that Wright’s 2014 decline was of his own doing, that he often freelanced on plays. Wright saw it differently, because he was drafted (in the first round) to freelance. Coach Munchak trusted Wright’s instincts on game day, and far more times than not…he delivered.
Prior to his knee injury, Wright was technically coach Whiz’s number 1 receiver, but he wasn’t (and has never been) featured the way most number 1 receivers are in today’s NFL.
In coach Whisenhunt’s system, Wright felt like he was just another guy in the rotation. Just another player on the team.
A lot has changed since Wright sprained his knee in Houston three weeks ago. Ken Whisenhunt is now gone, and so is fellow receiver Justin Hunter. Marcus Mariota is back under center, and he desperately needs someone on the outside that can make plays.
A perfect scenario for any target-starved wide receiver to return to.
If anyone is looking to distance themselves from the Ken Whisenhunt era, Kendall Wright is. And with the current state of the wide receiver position, you would have to think that Mariota will be looking his way a ton for the remainder of the season.
After a disappointing 18 months, Wright gets a fresh start…again.