During the spring, Titans receivers coach Shawn Jefferson lit into rookie wide receiver Justin Hunter for not fighting through injuries that were keeping him off the practice field.
Hunter has continued to be a target of coaches and his teammates for not being tough enough and his preseason debut gave coaches another reason to stay on the rookie. Hunter, who the Titans traded up to pick in the second round, caught a pass beyond the sticks on third down, but wound up short of the marker when he doubled back in an attempt to get more yards. That didn’t sit well with the Titans staff.
“They were waiting for me,” Hunter said, via the Tennessean. “They were very mad. They were trying to get me to understand that when it’s third down, get what you can and get down. You have to get the first down. I was trying to get more than what I had. I should’ve gone down.”
It’s the kind of mistake you see a lot from rookies who need to refine their games, which is part of the reason why few receivers make a huge impact in their first seasons. Taken with the other criticisms, it suggests Hunter has a way to go before he’ll be in position to boost the offense.
With Kenny Britt, Kendall Wright and Nate Washington on hand, the Titans don’t need Hunter to be the focal point of the passing game from day one. They didn’t move up to pick him so that he could just sit on the bench and watch, though, so making enough progress to be a contributor would be welcomed in Tennessee.