Receiver turning in better performance each week
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP)
The second-year player isn't waiting for the future.
Wright is coming off yet another career-best. He caught 12 of the 20 passes thrown his way for 150 yards against Arizona. The first-round pick out of Baylor in 2012 ranks seventh in the NFL with 85 catches and his 1,007 yards put him 17th. He's also the second-youngest receiver in franchise history to reach 1,000 yards in a season behind only Ernest Givins back in 1986.
He's also tied with Anquan Boldin of San Francisco for the most receptions (29) on third down.
''We were really excited about him last year, but he really dedicated himself in the offseason, got in better shape, worked hard, really understands the schemes ...,'' Munchak said of Wright. ''But he's special. He's going to be fun to watch for a lot of years.''
Munchak credited offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains with doing a good job designing plays to take advantage of Wright's strengths, which include being very slithery as he races his way to the spot where the ball is being thrown to him. Wright also lost a few pounds in the offseason after his rookie year trying to boost his speed even more. The Titans list the 5-foot-10 receiver at 191 pounds this season.
Wright also works hard daily in practice and meetings, challenging both himself and fellow receivers to be better. He had his first 100-yard receiving game of his career Nov. 24 in a win at Oakland where he caught the winning touchdown with 10 seconds left, and he had his best game yet in last week's 37-34 overtime loss to Arizona.
Offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains said Thursday throwing to Wright 20 times in that game was by design trying to get the ball to a good player. It didn't hurt that Munchak benched rookie Justin Hunter and Damian Williams for violating team rules in that game.
''I think I've said it before, I think that he's probably our best offensive player, and I think he's had a heck of a season,'' Loggains said. ''He's on pace to do some really good things here. We're really excited. He's going to be a big part of the Titans' future.''
With two games left, Wright certainly has a chance to top the season Givins had at the age of 22 in 1986 for the then-Houston Oilers. Givins caught 61 passes for 1,062 yards with three TDs. Wright had 78 yards in the Titans' first game against Jacksonville on Nov. 10 and will have a chance to at least match that Sunday when they visit the Jaguars (4-10).
But Wright didn't even know what his numbers were for the season until Monday. He's too busy trying to improve his route running, learn and win. Coaches saying nice things about him is nice to hear.
''It doesn't make you work less,'' Wright said. ''I still got to be the best I can be and get better wherever I can get better.''
His teammates certainly know how productive Wright has been for them turning lots of short routes into big gains. Running back Chris Johnson says it's easy to see how much Wright has grown from his rookie season into his second year.
''He just comes out here and works hard every day,'' Johnson said. ''If you watch him practice, you know he's a guy that wants to be great.''
Notes: RT David Stewart missed his second straight practice with a sore shoulder. Munchak said the veteran missing practices first with leg injuries and lately a sore shoulder has made it tough for both Stewart and the Titans. Johnson returned to practice but was limited (knee).
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