Receiver turning in better performance each week

Titans coach Mike Munchak believes Kendall Wright is going to be

a player watch for many years in the NFL.

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).

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org