Britt’s replacement growing into role
Posted: Thursday, October 20, 2011 7:03 pm
By TERESA M. WALKER
AP Sports Writer
NASHVILLE (AP) — Damian Williams is in his second NFL season with a new offensive coordinator and no offseason due to the lockout. He’s also the receiver who has the task of replacing Kenny Britt at wide receiver for the Tennessee Titans.
Nothing like a little pressure.
“In the beginning, it was a lot of pressure just because you’re replacing a player the type of Kenny … and you’ve got to think about that when you’re the guy replacing him,” Williams said Wednesday with a laugh. “As we’ve gone along the past couple weeks, I feel comfortable. They feel comfortable, and I think there’s no pressure anymore.”
A third-round pick out of Southern California, the 6-foot-1, 199-pound Williams has caught a touchdown pass in each of his past two games. He already has nine catches for 94 yards and is on target to easily top the 16 catches for 219 yards from his rookie season.
Offensive coordinator Chris Palmer wasn’t happy with Williams when the receiver told him he could beat a defender in a 38-17 loss at Pittsburgh on Oct. 9, then seemingly went on cruise control. But Palmer had a talk with Williams and feels the young receiver got his message on the need to go full out when on the field or head to the sideline if needing a breather.
“He’s only a second-year player. He’s got a bright future ahead of him,” Palmer said.
Williams will be making his third straight start Sunday when Tennessee (3-2) hosts Houston (3-3). The receiver did have the advantage of extra work in the preseason while the Titans tried to ease Britt back from a strained right hamstring, and Williams played at each of the three receiver spots.
But Williams worked mostly with rookie Jake Locker, so he’s still adjusting to veteran quarterback Matt Hasselbeck.
“We just have to get that rapport and get that timing and I think we’re getting a lot closer,” Williams said.
The Titans know they can’t replace Britt, who tore his right ACL and MCL on Sept. 25 against Denver. He’s what receivers coach Dave Ragone calls his own special type of player.
Williams has had some success in his own career.
He played and won a state title with now-Auburn offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn at Springdale High School in Arkansas before playing a year for Arkansas in college and being named to the freshman All-SEC team.
Ragone said Williams is very smart and understands what defenses are trying to do to him. He has some speed too.
“He can be physical with defensive backs, and he’s got that kind of pedigree. It’s about going out there each game and getting more comfortable for
Published in The Messenger 10.20.11