Tennessee Titans  

 

Kenny Britt's arrest won't sink Tennessee Titans in 2012

Tom DiPace/Associated Press
The Tennessee Titans will miss receiver Kenny Britt if he's suspended, but they have other offensive options.


 

The Tennessee Titans were likely putting together contingency plans for receiver Kenny Britt, who is rehabilitating a torn anterior cruciate ligament, before he was arrested on suspicion of driving while intoxicated in Kentucky on Friday. But the star receiver's recent legal trouble could force the team to put those plans into action. As a possible repeat offender of the NFL's personal-conduct policy, Britt could be subject to a multiple-game suspension. Thus, the Titans might be forced to take the field without their No. 1 receiver. While his absence would rob the team of a talented playmaker, I believe Tennessee's passing game will still thrive in 2012. Here are three reasons why:

1. Chris Johnson makes the offense go.
For all of the conversation about Johnson falling off in 2011, the running back is the one Titans player defensive coordinators still fear. The speed and explosiveness he's displayed during his first four seasons in the league still demand respect; the Titans will certainly face eight-man boxes when he is on the field. That will create plenty of one-on-one opportunities for Titans receivers on the perimeter, which could result in big plays in the passing game. Last season, quarterback Matt Hasselbeck completed 10 passing plays for 40 yards or more that were keyed by play-action to Johnson. Expect Tennessee to continue using Johnson as a decoy to create opportunities through the air.

2. Jared Cook is ready to be a No. 1 option.
Cook has quietly developed into one of the NFL's most explosive tight ends. He finished 2011 with 49 receptions for 759 yards and three scores, and emerged as the matchup nightmare the team envisioned when they selected him in the third round of the 2009 NFL Draft. Cook brings a combination of size and speed that makes him nearly impossible to defend over the middle of the field. He showed glimpses of his potential dominance during the Titans' final three games, totaling 21 receptions for 313 yards and a score. With Britt out of the lineup, Cook will see more targets, which could spell trouble for Tennessee's opponents.

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3. Nate Washington and Kendall Wright can fill the void as playmakers.
The Titans have a young, athletic receiving corps with a number of players capable of delivering big plays. Washington and Wright, in particular, are built for big roles in the passing game. Both are explosive route runners with the speed and quickness to blow past defenders on deep balls.

Washington, who posted a 1,000-yard campaign in 2011, thrived as the Titans' designated big-play threat following Britt's injury last season. Given a full training camp to build packages around his strengths, Washington could be a more effective weapon in 2012.

Wright, the team's first-round pick this year, put up impressive numbers as the No. 1 option at Baylor and certainly could make a big splash as a rookie. With Britt out of the lineup, Wright will receive more chances to see the field. His home-run ability can add another dimension to the Titans' passing game.

Follow Bucky Brooks on Twitter @BuckyBrooks

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