So here we are, week 6 of the NFL season. Hunter has a grand total of 2 catches for 50 yards, and 2 TDs, in very limited action. With my fellow writer Gunnelsj talking up the debate of getting the young Center , Brian Schwenke, into the starting lineup in place of the struggling Rob Turner, I want to talk wideouts.
Titans fans have all adjusted their ideas of how this wide receiver depth chart shakes out. With Nate Washington (22 catches, 362 yards, 2 TDs) playing with fire and becoming ever more reliable with some great chemistry with Locker, he is the unquestioned leader of the group. Kendall Wright (26 catches, 266 yards, 1TD) is coming along nicely as well, and has added an explosive element to this offense. His ability to generate yards after the catch is phenomenal and his play is the oil that greases the wheels of this entire offense. That leaves us with Damien Williams (8 catches, 79 yards), who is looking more like a No.1 Receiver every time I see him step out onto the field. His determination and ability was on full display against the Jets, with multiple impressive grabs to his credit. Add in Michael Preston and his big-play ability and you have a very good corps of skill players, unarguably better than this Nashville franchise has ever boasted.
I am conveniently leaving out No.18, and I won't bother to discuss him at length. He was billed as ready for a breakout year after recovering from multiple surgeries, but he is a shell at this point, and undeserving of playing time. Add in the fact that he will not be in Nashville next year and I really couldn't care less.
Now we get to add Justin Hunter to this impressive group. Hunter is a physical specimen and that is fully apparent when he steps onto the field. Against corners of even average height, it looks unfair. Both his catches have showcased great technique, as well as premier vertical and ball-location ability. Beyond that, intangibly, Hunter has been clutch when called upon, albeit not very much so far. The young wideout has been worked gradually into the lineup this year up to this point, but I would argue that he warrants an increased role.
My opinion on player development has always been that young players will improve through playing the game. It sounds simple (and is often a different story with QBs) but Hunter wouldn't suffer any delay in his development from taking a heavier load right now. In fact, I feel the opposite. Playing against good competition brings out the best in everyone and will be to his benefit going forward. I feel this is an ideal time to work Hunter into the game-plan more. His advantages are too big of an asset to waste during this tough stretch of games and the Titans staff need to be utilizing every weapon they can to get some wins and consequently, some momentum, heading into the second half of the season.