Physically, Kenny Britt estimates he is about 95 percent back from the injuries that have plagued him over the past years.
It is readjusting to the mental part of the game and the speed and timing of things that are now more of a concern for the Tennessee Titans star receiver.
And that is key as the Titans wait for the “old” Kenny Britt to resurface in his pre-ACL surgery form. Thus far, Britt has played in four games and has 145 yards receiving (on 13 catches) and one touchdown. The Titans are eager to see the Britt who was a threat to put numbers similar to his current season totals in a single game.
Britt says the biggest obstacle to him returning to the form he showed flashes of in 2010 and in 2011 before he was injured may be getting used to the NFL game again.
“To tell you the truth, I thought it would all come back when I was out there running routes with everybody. I thought it would probably take a week or so to get back to reading the coverages and seeing the ball come out of the quarterback's hand,” Britt said Thursday. “But it's taken a while and to be honest, today was one of my better days that I've had since I've back and this week has been one of my better weeks.”
Titans coach Mike Munchak says he understands the difficult adjustment period Britt is going through as he makes his way back into the regular lineup.
“I remember going through it when I played. When you out for a couple of games or you’re out for a while, you forget how fast the game is,” Munchak said. “Everyone is different probably. I don’t think it’s that way on every play. I just think maybe on certain instances throughout the game, maybe you just don’t have that feel yet. You still can do a lot of good things like he’s been doing.... That’s something I think he’ll keep getting better and better the more he plays. I think being on the practice field has helped him a lot too. … This week he’s going to be able to practice all week, so I think those things will help him a lot too.”
While Britt would like to have a big production game as much as the Titans would like for him to, he said the most important thing in his mind is not to have any costly mental mistakes while he is on the field.
“I just want to have a game where I have no mental mistakes, and I can go out there and catch every ball that is thrown to me. I just want to have a perfect game that way,” he said.
Jake Locker threw for the second straight day and did so without soreness in his non-throwing left shoulder.
Locker, who has separated his shoulder twice this season, will miss one more week, but should return and start against Indianapolis at home on Oct. 28.
“I think the big thing is he wasn’t sore from yesterday, didn’t feel any worse, felt fine from what he did yesterday with the individual drills that he did,” Munchak said. “The throwing, the seven-on-seven, all that felt good. He pretty much did the same thing today, a little more individual work. He threw about the same, tomorrow he’ll probably do a little bit more. So far he’s feeling good, which means he’s getting his confidence back. Next week, again, as we go through the weekend, and Monday, Tuesday, we can kind of see where he’s at.”
Linebacker Colin McCarthy, who was still in a walking boot Thursday, might practice Friday with an eye toward staying in the lineup Sunday in Buffalo. McCarthy's injured ankle, he said earlier in the week, won't heal as long as he keeps playing on it. But he might try to practice Friday and play Sunday.
“We're trying to be smart with him and not irritate it,” Munchak said. “We'll know more (Friday). I'm optmistic he'll be able to play, but it's just to what level. You reach a point where you have to make a decision as to whether he can play good enough to help us win the football game. We knew this was going to be a week-to-week thing for a while and that's where we're at.”
Cornerback Tommie Campbell has his left ankle in a boot and won't play this week. But he said he is improving and hopes to have a chance to play next week vs. Indianapolis.
Defensive tackle Jurrell Casey, who sat out Wednesday to rest his sore shoulder, practiced on Thursday and should play Sunday.