The Tennessee Titans had hoped Kenny Britt would take a step forward.
When that didn't happen, many thought Justin Hunter could become a game-changing wide receiver. That might yet happen, but for now the rookie second-round pick has been reduced to cameo appearances in the Titans offense.
Wright, the Titans' first-round pick in 2012, was a choice that many questioned a year ago, given the team's pressing needs on the defensive side of the ball.
But Wright proved himself, leading the team in receptions with 64 catches in an otherwise forgettable season for the Titans.
The only downside to Wright's production was that he averaged just over nine yards per catch, and the Titans had hoped the shifty receiver might deliver more big plays than that.
Now, in his second season Wright appears well on his way to doing just that. On Sunday in Tennessee's 28-21 victory over the Rams, Wright caught a 45-yard missile from Jake Locker, the longest reception of his brief career.
It was further evidence that Wright is the receiver that Locker is most comfortable with.
“I'm comfortable with the way things are going. Me and Jake, we're building a chemistry,” Wright said. “It just starts at practice. I go out there and go full speed for him every day. If something's not right, we'll go out there and run plays again that didn't so so well the first time.”
Locker said he knew all along that Wright had the ability to make big plays, especially with yards after catch.
“Kendall is a guy that when we drafted him, we thought he had explosive ability. He's shown that for us and done that for us. We're excited to be able to get those types of plays out of him and we hope to continue to do so,” Locker said.
Wright's numbers this season have been solid. He has a team-high 43 catches at the halfway point of the Titans season and has 502 yards receiving. Those numbers, if doubled, put Wright on pace for 86 receptions and 1,004 yards receiving.
Titans coach Mike Munchak admitted that Wright has become Tennessee's most consistent performer at the receiver position.
“He’s a guy that gets open. If I was a quarterback, I’d be looking at him every snap probably. He’s special,” Munchak said. “I think he’s a guy that’s just going to get better and better. He’s hard to cover, he’s a tough matchup, and he’s quick. He gets off press really quick, and he’s hard to cover. He’s developed into a great weapon for us.”
Tackle David Stewart sat out another day with a shoulder injury after missing last Sunday's game with the same ailment.
Stewart has been beset by injuries ever since breaking his leg last year. Prior to hurting his shoulder, Stewart battled ankle and calf injuries that were a result of his off-season work to repair his leg.
Linebacker Moise Fokou continues to miss practice time with his knee injury and might not be available for a third straight contest as the Titans prepare to face Jacksonville.
Also, cornerback Tommie Campbell, who was limping following the win over St. Louis due to a knee injury, instead showed up on the injury report with a shoulder problem that kept him out of Wednesday's practice.
Safety Michael Griffin, who missed the first game of his pro career last week with a quadriceps injury, was back and practicing fully on Wednesday. Others who practiced fully included linebacker Zaviar Gooden (hamstring) and defensive tackle Ropati Pitoitua (calf).
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