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Titans By the Numbers: #6-#7

Week four's edition only confirms my suspicions. Regarding last week's admittedly disappointing edition where I chose not to include a player for number four, I have unofficially confirmed that no Titan or Oiler have earned significant playing time, much less accomplished anything, while wearing said number. 

Hopefully, this week delivers a little better.

Special teams players have had a prominent place on this list from the beginning which can be either good or bad I guess. I hope you're ready for the first punter on this list, because number six is Brett Kern

Career Achievements: Ray Guy Award finalist: 2007. PFW All-Rookie Team: 2008. 

Yes, Kern is a punter, and yes, he's only been on the team for a couple of years, but it came down to either Kern or Tim Rattay, take your pick. Now that's not exactly a shining endorsement, but I think we can all agree that Kern has been a serviceable punter during his time here and only expects to get better with time. 

Brett's time in college was extremely productive. As his career achievements section will tell you, Kern was a finalist for the Ray Guy Award which distinguishes the nation's best punter. During his senior year, he punted 52 times for 2,399 yards for an average of 46.1 yards which was good for second in the nation. 

Kern was originally signed as a rookie free agent out of Toledo back in 2008 by the Broncos. His time in Denver came and went and it even saw him record the third highest average distance for punts in NFL history, yet the Titans were still able to snag him off of waivers midway through the disaster that was the 2009 season. If you look at the games that Kern was a part of for both teams, you'll notice that Kern was on the winning sideline for eleven straight weeks as he helped the Broncos to a 6-0 start before being claimed by Tennessee who who their next five games. 2010 was his first full year as the starter and he rewarded the Titans by averaging nearly 45 yards per punt.

For the record, you can follow him at @brettkern6 on Twitter. So yeah, for most of us it's probably the first and only punter we'll follow, but he actually seems like a pretty cool guy. 

Sometimes there are numbers that give you fits. They don't have a lot of talent surrounding them and generally, they're not terribly exciting. The opposite is true for the great number seven, Dan Pastorini

Career Achievements: Pro Bowl: 1975

Pastorini was drafted third overall out of Santa Clara University in 1971, then called the year of the quarterback with three QBs (Archie Manning, Jim Plunkett, and Pastorini) going with the top three picks. From 1971 to 1979, nothing could stop Pastorini from suiting up. He's famously known as the first player to ever use a flak jacket, and with good reason; Pastorini had several broken ribs and a punctured lung. To play quarterback for those early-to-mid 70's teams, you had to be tough; the offensive line didn't have a quality group until about '77. 

However, his skills went beyond quarterbacking. Pastorini was also a pretty solid punter back in the day and played both during the early years of his career a la George Blanda. 

He's no Warren Moon, but Pastorini ranks up there with the best quarterbacks in team history. In his nine years as an Oiler quarterback, he threw for 16,864 yards and 96 TDs. However, everyone has their crosses to bear and Pastorini's was the interception. It was probably the main thing that kept him from being one of the greatest of his generation as he ranked in the top 9 in passes intercepted in 1971, 1973, 1975, and 1977. His best season came in 1978 when he threw for a career high 2,473 yards and 16 TDs, but more importantly, led the Oilers to the AFC title game in Pittsburgh. 

Despite his knack for throwing timely picks, Pastorini is one of the more successful playoff QB's in franchise history. He played well enough in the 1978 postseason to beat the dynastic Miami Dolphins and then had enough left to beat the AFC East division champions, the New England Patriots. However, his most famous playoff appearance was probably the 1979 AFC Championship Game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, a game which many of the older Steeler faithful still swear by. Pastorini threw a perfectly placed fade route into the end zone for receiver Mike Renfro who made a spectacular acrobatic catch for the score. Actually, just kidding, this was  a road game in Pittsburgh after all. The call stood as incomplete despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. 

In any case, I'll allow you to be the judge on this one.

Year G Att Cmp Cmp% Yds TD INT Y/A Rate
1971 14 270 127 47,0 1702 7 21 6.3 43.8
1972 14 299 144 48.2 1711 7 12 5,7 57.1
1973 14 290 154 53.1 1482 5 17 5.1 49.0
1974 11 247 140 56.7 1571 10 10 6.4 72.4
1975 14 342 163 47.7 2053 14 16 6.0 61.0
1976 13 309 167 54.0 1795 10 10 5.8 68.6
1977 14 219 169 53.0 1987 13 18 6.2 62.3
1978 16 368 199 54.1 2473 16 17 6.7 70.4
1979 15 324 163 50.3 2090 14 18 6.5 62.1