In a season that was cut short in 2011 due to tearing his anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments in his right knee, Titans fans were drooling at the prospects of having him fully healthy to pair with first round draft pick Kendall Wright in the receiving game. But if the assumption by head coach Mike Minchak comes to fruition, fans may have to hold off a little longer on that vision.
When asked this weekend how Britt’s recovery was going, Munchak revealed that the possibility of a second procedure on the star wide receiver’s knee might be in order.
“I think it always is possible. I don’t know if he will at some point, but I think that’s something that’s common with that injury. Derrick (Morgan) went through it last year. The good thing is that even if you do have it, it’s not a huge setback. It’s not something that sets you way back. But that is obviously part of the process, or could be, if that arises down the road. He’s been doing well, running hard, and we’ll just have to see how the knee responds.”
After leading the Titans in receiving yards in both 2009 and 2010, Britt played in only three games before the injury ended his 2011 season.
Now, this could all turn out to be nothing and he could be ready to go week 1 with no further problems. But this is the kind of situation where a head coach must hope for the best but prepare for the worst. If Britt should re-aggravate the injury, he could miss sufficient time and leave the responsibility of being the go-to-guy to Nate Washington and a rookie.
Washington filled in admirably for Britt in 2011 posting totals of 1,023 yards in 74 catches as well as finding the endzone 7 times. But who moves up to the #2 guy, if need be?
Logic would suggest that Kendall Wright has all the measurables to be a burner playing out of the slot. And if Jake Locker does challenge for the starting quarterback role this year, as many predict, then that would be the best use for the high draft selection who torched secondaries at Baylor last year. So unless a move is made or someone surprises in camp, Lavaelle Hawkins seems to be the most reasonable answer.
Hawkins tallied 470 yards and a score on 47 catches in 2011 while appearing in all 16 games. He may not be the prototypical #2 wide receiver due to his height and size, which is similar to Kendall Wright. But it seems to be a better choice than placing a rookie under that kind of pressure. However, most would expect for a challenger in camp to try and steal this role away. But these are obviously problems that are better avoided with Kenny Britt being back at full speed in 2012.
With a group of Britt and Washington, with Wright in the slot, Locker, or Hasselbeck, would have plenty of options that could create mismatches and problems for opposing secondaries. Wright’s speed instantly stretches the field and hopefully gets Chris Johnson back to his old ways.
Simply put, the Titans go from an average team to a rising one with Britt on the field. The division got stronger this offseason and the Texans seem poised to hang onto the division crown for the foreseeable future. But of the other three teams in the division, Tennessee is the closest to challenging them in the near future. Keeping a guy like Britt on the field makes it seem much more likely. Coach Munchak is likely keeping his fingers crossed.