Not only has he been the Titans best pass catcher for the last three seasons.

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Not only has he been the Titans best pass catcher for the last three seasons.

zhangzk
With Delanie Walker out the Titans young pass catchers must grow up in a hurry First Cheap Austin Johnson Jersey , I want to wish Delanie Walker a speedy recovery. Seeing him go down trying to fight for extra yards at the end of Sunday’s game was the last thing anyone wanted to witness. It should also be said that Walker is irreplaceable. He’s one of the top two or three all-around tight ends in the NFL right now. He runs great routes, has sure hands, makes plays after the catch, and blocks his tail off every snap. Those types of guys don’t grow on trees and they certainly don’t grow on the picked over tree that is NFL free agency in September. The Titans have Jerome Cunningham on the practice squad if they’d like to call him up to get a fourth tight end back on the roster quickly. They could also give old familiar names like Anthony Fasano, Phillip Supernaw, or Jace Amaro a call. Maybe even reach out to a guy like Coby Fleener if he has a clean bill of health after being released by the Saints earlier this year with a head injury that he was still dealing with from the previous season. All those guys would be depth moves though. None of them — besides Cunningham and Supernaw — would know the offense and frankly these guys just aren’t that good. There isn’t an instant fix on the market like there was at safety. Walker’s contributions, instead, will have to be replaced from within to the extent that they can be. The bulk of this burden will suddenly fall on second year tight end Jonnu Smith. The Titans drafted him in the 3rd round of the 2017 NFL Draft to be Walker’s long term successor as the team’s leading tight end, but that time frame will be sped up now. In his rookie season, Smith caught 18 passes for 157 yards and 2 touchdowns while being on the field for 54.3% of the Titans offensive snaps. The Florida International product looked natural as a pass catcher. At 6’-3” and 248 pounds, Smith is similar physically to Walker and even offers many of the same explosive athletic traits.What Smith doesn’t have as a pass catcher is the nuanced route running and trust with quarterback Marcus Mariota that Walker had developed over three seasons working as a prime target for the Titans quarterback. Unfortunately — or fortunately depending on your viewpoint — that can only get better with time and reps. Smith will be getting plenty of reps in practice moving forward and will need to take advantage of them. What often gets undersold with Delanie Walker is his prowess as a blocker in the run game. Phantom holding calls aside, Walker is rarely unable to get the job done in the running game. That’s critical for a good tight end as it allows your offense to truly be multiple within the same personnel packages. This is a part of the game that Smith still struggles with. He is a willing blocker, but not a very skilled one at this point in his career. The good news is that blocking is something that can develop over time in the NFL, the bad news is that the Titans don’t have any more time. They need Smith to play well right away.Luke Stocker will certainly see more reps now and can help lighten the blocking load foisted on Smith, but he’s not much of a pass catcher despite his 2 catches for 37 yardsstat line against the Dolphins. Stocker now becomes absolutely critical to the Titans running game. The surprise decision to keep camp standout Anthony Firkser as a 4th tight end now looks pretty good. Firkser, like Smith, is far more receiver than blocker, but he could give the Titans a chance to put some multiple tight end sets on the field that can present a threat in the passing game. His best quality is simply his feel for the game. He has a knack for finding soft spots in the defense and the quickness to beat linebackers. It will be interesting to see how much he is used next week. Of course, Walker was more than “just” a tight end, so it will take more than tight ends to replace him. He was Mariota’s go-to target on third downs, someone that the Titans young quarterback looked for when things broke down. Rishard Matthews seems like the natural fill-in here http://www.titanscheapshops.com/cheap-authentic-jayon-brown-jersey , but he was virtually invisible in Miami despite being on the field for over 50% of the offensive snaps. That likely has a lot to do with Matthews still being on the mend from a surgery to repair a torn meniscus, but the Titans now need him to be back to his reliable self in a hurry.The go-to receiver for the Titans in Week 1 was clearly Corey Davis who led all Titans with a whopping 13 targets, resulting in 6 catches for 62 yards. I thought Davis played well. Of the 7 targets that landed incomplete, 1 was a desperation throw in the back of the endzone on 3rd down that never gave him a chance, 4 were straight misses from the quarterback (2 for Mariota, 2 for Blaine Gabbert), and 2 appeared to be miscommunications (both with Gabbert, including one where it appeared that Gabbert missed an adjustment that Davis was trying to signal to him pre-snap). I’ll go deeper in to this when the All-22 comes out.If Davis wasn’t already going to be the focal point of the passing game, he certainly will be now. He is the most important non-quarterback on the Titans roster at this point so he needs to stay healthy and be productive. He did a few good things on Sunday, but Tennessee will need a lot more from him moving forward. One other guy that I think factors in to replacing Walker’s production is Dion Lewis. He had an outstanding debut — one of the few bright spots on a gloomy Sunday — and showed his value as a pass catcher out of the backfield. That ability will be extremely important moving forward. It will be interesting to see if the Titans feature more 11-personnel or even go with more 2-back sets in an attempt to get their best 11 on the field together.Walker was targeted at team-high 111 times in 2017 — 24 more than the next closest Titan — so that leaves a ton of opportunity for guys like Davis, Matthews, Smith, and Lewis. Davis was supposed to be ready to take the next step this year anyway, but now that step is more important than ever. Smith, on the other hand, wasn’t supposed to be ready this year, but he has to be now. You never know how a guy will respond when he’s tossed in to the fire. You hope that Smith will step up to the challenge, but we will find out starting next week against Houston. He’s not going to be Walker by any means, but if the Titans can get a passable performance from him and some of his other teammates to rise to the occasion, they may still be OK without their best player on offense.Get well soon Delanie.Taylor Lewan returns to practice and other notes from Wednesday’s injury report The first official injury reports for this Sunday’s Titans-Jaguars game were released today along with some comments from Mike Vrabel and Marcus Mariota after practice. Here is the good news and bad news. Good NewsTaylor Lewan returned to practice today as a limited participant, meaning he has reached at least Step 4 of the 5-Step return to play protocol for concussions. The final step is for him to be evaluated and cleared by team doctors and an independent neurological consultant and that could happen at any point now. There seems to be optimism that the Titans will have their two-time Pro Bowl left tackle on the field in Jacksonville.The Titans might even get his counterpart on the right side Jack Conklin back this week. He was a limited participant today as well and Vrabel commented on his radio show Tuesday night that Conklin “could be available in some capacity” against the Jaguars. The counts as the most encouraging update yet on his excellent right tackle.Getting Lewan and Conklin back for this game would be huge. The Titans will need all hands on deck on the road against one of the best defenses in the NFL. The big question, however Cheap Kamalei Correa Jersey , remains the health of Marcus Mariota. He practiced in a limited capacity on Wednesday, splitting reps with Blaine Gabbert as he did at the end of last week. Unlike late last week, Mariota did throw during the portion of practice open to the media while sporting a special glove that had the middle and index finger cut out on his throwing hand to help with his grip. Reports seem to indicate that his throws were better than last week, but still struggled with throws further down field.Mariota said that the trainers had compared the injury to his nerve to a guitar string being strummed and that the tingling in his ring and pinky fingers would subside as the nerve “settled down”. It remains to be seen if he can get to a point where the team feels comfortable with him as the starter by Sunday, but it does at least sound like he’s headed in the right direction.The Titans could also be getting closer to getting safety Kendrick Lewis back from a foot injury as he was a limited participant for the first time since the injury occurred during the second preseason game. Lewis figures to be good veteran depth and a potential special teams contributor when he does return to the lineup.One other bit of good news is the omission of Corey Davis from the injury report. He had been limited during the week with a “hamstring” for the last couple weeks, but must have been a full participant today. That could be related to the fact that the Titans only threw 22 passes on Sunday, including one that was a jet sweep to Taywan Taylor and one that came on special teams, but it could also mean that the hamstring business is finally behind us.Bad NewsDon’t freak out, but Derrick Henry appeared on the injury report with a back injury today and was listed as a limited participant, though reports indicate that Henry seemed to be moving around just fine during the open part of practice. Similar to Corey Davis, this could simply be workload related after Henry was worked heavily against Houston and really had to grind for some tough yards. I wouldn’t panic about this though, I still expect to see No. 22 running over Jalen Ramsey on Sunday.Dennis Kelly did not practice as he remains out with an illness that had him in the hospital late last week. He is home now, but there is a chance that he won’t be available for a second straight week. That could be an issue if Conklin isn’t ready either. I would assume that Kevin Pamphile would get the call at right tackle if that situation came to pass, but Tyler Marz performed admirably there last week while Pamphile was at left tackle so he could be an option as well.Luke Stocker remains on the injury report as he was limited with a calf injury. He was limited during practice last week as well and then turned in an excellent performance against the Texans so I wouldn’t worry too much about this one.Finally, David Fluellen did not practice with a groin injury that is expected to keep him sidelined for a few weeks. The Titans promoted Dalyn Dawkins from the practice squad to serve as their 3rd back in the meantime. Jaguars NewsJacksonville had four players miss practice with injuries and three limited participants:TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins (core muscle) - did not practice C Brandon Linder (knee) - did not practiceRB Brandon Wilds (illness) - did not practiceRB T.J. Yeldon (ankle) - did not practiceRB Leonard Fournette (hamstring) - limited participant RG A.J. Cann (triceps) - limited participant RT Jermey Parnell (knee) - limited participant Seferian-Jenkins, Parnell, and Linder all played with their injuries last week against New England so I would expect them all to be available again this week unless a setback occurs during the week (though Seferian-Jenkins did not get a “did not practice” designation last week so that’s new). Fournette didn’t go last Sunday after sitting out of practice all week. His limited participation on Wednesday makes me think it’s pretty likely that he returns to the lineup this week. That would return Yeldon to a backup role, but it sounds like he may not be available anyway. Third down back Corey Grant would theoretically be the next man up if both can’t go, but my guess is we see a mix of Fournette and Grant for this game.Cann being added to the report worsens the Jaguars offensive line injury woes. They lost starting left tackle Cam Robinson for the season with an ACL tear suffered on Sunday and now have 3 of their other 4 OL starters appearing on the injury report. My guess is that these guys all play, but if they’re less than 100% they may struggle with a Titans pass rush that just ate the Texans line for lunch last week.
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Re: Not only has he been the Titans best pass catcher for the last three seasons.

jessicakern00
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