Nate Washington has the milestone within his sights and within his reach.
In six previous NFL seasons, Washington has never come close to 1,000 yards receiving. His best previous total was 687 yards last season.
But Washington now has 931 yards receiving to go with 70 receptions, which is also far and away a career high. He could become the first Titans receiver to reach 1,000 yards in a season since Drew Bennett and Derrick Mason both did so in 2004.
“It means a lot to me. Honestly, we've been winning ballgames, and I've been doing everything I possibly can to help us win, but I've never in my career been this close to his kind of success,” Washington said. “I'm honestly focused on trying to reach this mark, not just for me but for this coaching staff that has come in here and these guys that are playing next to me.”
Washington said he would regard it as a team accomplishment as well as an individual one, if he can reach it.
“It's definitely going to be a milestone not only for me, but for this offense. We haven't had a 1,000-yard receiver since 2004. That's what they told me,” Washington said. “With a new coaching staff coming in and new guys in the locker room, I think it just attests to us being different this year, a different attitude about our work ethic.”
Washington was asked if he knew how much he needed to get to 1,000 and said there have been reminders everywhere.
“I need 69 yards. Everybody's been telling me. Everybody from my mother, my girlfriend, my family, my friends in this locker room, my coaches,” he said. “Everybody's been telling me I'm 69 yards away.”
Getting those 69 yards might seem easy, but offensive coordinator Chris Palmer warned that Washington is also getting attention from opposing defenses as well. He received some double teams on Saturday from Jacksonville.
“I would like to get a win and have him get his 1,000 yards. That's what I would like. The problem that Nate's gonna have is he is now starting to be doubled,” Palmer said. “And the first time that happens to a wide receiver, that is a tough, tough pill to swallow.
“I've gone though it with Jimmy Smith, and I've gone through it with Keenan McCardell. When you start to get doubled, all of a sudden for 15 games, you've had your way and in the 15th game they start doubling you. You can say, 'Well, I still got my catches,' but we can get into a game where they say, 'You're not getting the ball.' And that's hard on a receiver, because until he gets back in and watches the film, to see where all the doubles are coming from, you get out of the game and you're kind of frustrated.”
Palmer said he discussed the possibility with Washington earlier this week.
“We talked about it earlier in the week, trying to alert him to the fact that this may happen, and he assured me that all he wants to do is win, and we'll see what happens from there,” Palmer said.
Washington was also quick to deflect the focus onto the team, with Tennessee fighting for its playoff life Sunday in Houston.
“It's not about me. It's about this coaching staff that believed in me and these guys in the locker room that have been giving me an opportunity to make plays,” he said.
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