Every single year, it seems like a young receiver captures the full attention of the fanbase in August during training camp. Last year, it was fifth-round rookie Kyle Philips, who really turned heads working out of the slot.
Philips landed on a roster that was replacing AJ Brown and Julio Jones, so a ton of snaps were up for grabs early on. Philips had a big opportunity, and he delivered. The rookie receiver not only won the punt returner role, but he appeared set to have a decent sized role in the passing game.
Right out of the gates, Philips received nine targets from Ryan Tannehill. He caught six of those, going for 66 yards in his regular season debut. And then, well, that was about it. Philips muffed two punts before injuring his hamstring, which ultimately cost him his season.
Following the injury, Philips says his main goal is to add weight and muscle ahead of the 2023 season. He tells Jim Wyatt that he was playing in the low 180s in 2022, but would like to land between 190/195 pounds for next season.
“I want to be around 190 to 195 (pounds),” said Philips, who started his final season at UCLA at 193 pounds but was in the “low 180s” at the start of his rookie season in Tennessee. “I want to come in here feeling good, feeling healthy, durable, fast, explosive.
“My main focus is getting big, staying explosive and getting a little more explosive. It’s a man’s league, and I am definitely not on the bigger side of the scale when it comes to that. So, I need to put some more muscle on me and be more durable for the season and just stay healthy.” (Via Jim Wyatt/TennesseeTitans.com)
The Philips hype seems like it was so long ago at this point, he’s become a bit of a forgotten man. However, the training camp performances were very real, and we saw him flash against the Giants before he got hurt. He also dazzled with some punt returns before the muff issues hit, which will undoubtedly be another focus of his this offseason.
Ran Carthon pretty clearly has to add to this receiver room ahead of 2023. How much he invests in that room remains to be seen, though. Philips should have another chance to impress this year, and I’ll be interested to see if he can build on that role he started to carve out during the fall.