The Tennessee Titans shored up several roster holes this offseason, but with training camp looming, the wide receiver position is still a question mark.
Coincidentally, so is Kendall Wright, the highest drafted receiver on the team.
Heading into the final year of his rookie deal, he now finds himself running out of time…and excuses.
Wright, who was selected by the Titans with the 20th overall pick in the 2012 draft, co-led all rookie receivers with 64 catches that season.
The following year Wight exploded, hauling in 94 receptions for 1,079 yards. Both career highs. He also set career highs in games played (16) and targets (140) in 2013.
Tennessee elected to part ways with running back Chris Johnson, their primary offensive weapon the previous six years, shortly after that season. And at the time, Wright was slated to take his spot as the go-to guy on offense.
That was March 2014…and the team is still waiting.
In his first year under new head coach/offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt, Wright regressed to the tune of 57 catches for 715 yards in 2014. But it came with a caveat…miscommunication with the new play caller.
Wright was given what most would call “creative freedom” when it came to his route running under head coach Mike Munchak. He was given the flexibility to make decisions based on what he was seeing from the defense.
Coach Whisenhunt was called plenty of things during his 23 game stint with the Titans, and flexible was not one of them.
He was vocal in his displeasure with the “bad habits” Wright formed under the old regime, and encouraged his young receiver (often through the media) to discipline himself to run the routes as they were designed…whether he was the primary option or not.
The reason for the drop off seemed logical, and Wright received a Mulligan. He also received 7.32 million dollars when the team elected to pick up his fifth year player option after the season.
Wright wasted no time in rewarding the Titans for their leap of faith when he turned a Marcus Mariota quick slant into a 52 yard touchdown on the first offensive possession of the season opener.
No one would have predicted that Wright would finish the season with career lows in targets (61), receptions (36), and yards (408).
But again, the performance came with a caveat.
Injuries derailed Wright’s 2015 season. He only played in ten games, and looked visibly hobbled in several others.
Kendall Wright’s road to stardom made an abrupt u turn in 2014, and he is still trying to find his way back.
While the circumstances that led to his stalling career may not have been solely his fault, he enters this all important season with his future in jeapordy.
Yes, coach Whiz may have stunted Wright’s growth by changing the approach that made him successful his first two years. But he’s gone now.
And yes, he was off to a great start in 2015 before the injures took their toll. But those things happen.
After receiving Mulligan the last two seasons, will the third time be a charm for Kendall Wight this year? Or will it be three strikes and he’s out?
Either way, there will be no more Mulligans…no more excuses.