Marc Mariani or Darius Reynaud?....Darius Reynaud or Marc Mariani? That has been the debate around Titans' circles all offseason, but today I have a different question- why do the Titans have to keep either of them. There is no reason to burn a spot on the roster for a guy that is just going to be a returner (especially if you are keeping Rusty Smith).
Now you are thinking, but Jommy, who is going to be the Titans returner? That is actually a really easy question- Damian Williams. You might not remember this, but when the Titans drafted Williams in the third round in 2010 the intention was for him to be the returner. They were coming off a year where they didn't have a returner on the roster and Williams was the First Team All Pac-10 Punt returner in 2009*.
The only reason Williams wasn't the returner in 2010 was because he missed most of the preseason in his rookie year with a hamstring injury. While he was out Marc Mariani handled the return duties and was really good. Williams fumbled in his first preseason game and the job was Mariani's. He probably never gets the chance if Williams is healthy from day one.
The biggest benefit to using Williams is that he can also play receiver. Say what you want about Reynaud and Williams, but neither of them are going to contribute anything to this team on offense.
Now Williams didn't return kickoffs in college, but it doesn't take much to do that in today's NFL with the majority of the kickoffs resulting in a touchback.
*Thanks to gramsey for the info.