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The Titans' Receivers Must Step Up Against the Colts' Secondary

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The injury bug has bitten the Colts' secondary. Can the Titans' receivers take advantage?

Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

With Vontae Davis, Darius Butler, and Greg Toler all nursing injuries, the Indianapolis Colts' secondary is vulnerable. That places the pressure squarely on the Tennessee Titans' receivers.

Against Cleveland, the Titans' leading pass catchers were Anthony Fasano, Chase Coffman and Dexter McCluster. Two tight ends and a running back/receiver. The Titans' receivers were all held in check, with Justin Hunter (2 catches for 34 yards), Kendall Wright (2 for 17) and Harry Douglas (1 for 9) providing little contribution. This isn't entirely surprising. The Browns have a solid secondary and Mariota will target the open man.

Now the time has come though when this Titans' receiving trio must step up. The Colts played a lot of zone coverage against the Jets, with plenty of those looks coming after Vontae Davis left the game with an injury. With Davis in the game however, the Colts weren't afraid to play man coverage. They let him go up against Brandon Marshall in a battle ESPN did a good job of highlighting.

At this time its still uncertain which Colts' corners will dress. Regardless of who lines up across from them, Marcus Mariota needs his receivers to break free more frequently. In his first two pro games Mariota has shown a great ability to read defenses and hit the open player. If receivers can't get open, more pressure will be placed on Tennessee's offensive line - a unit that struggled mightily last game.

Kendall Wright was a star in the season opener. The Titans' used quick throws and packaged plays to get him the ball both early in the game and early in his route. He's such a great space player that the team will need to incorporate similar philosophies this game. Both the coaching and Wright bear responsibility for this.

Harry Douglas and Justin Hunter will be tasked with winning the outside matchups - with perhaps Douglas drawing Davis. That would be one heckuva challenge for Douglas.  Davis' Monday night performance showed he is able to play physical but still have the speed to stay with his man downfield.  Hunter can be a topic of hot discussion on this site. He's blessed with natural talent, but at the same time can often be so frustrating to watch. After two quiet games it would be absolutely huge to have him and Mariota connect on a few deep throws.

The Titans' have invested high draft picks and money into the receiver position for this season, and they need that to start paying off in their big game against Indianapolis.