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Notebook: Kendall Wright Notices Extra Shadow

Posted Dec 5, 2013

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Kendall Wright didn’t care for having an extra shadow last Sunday at Indianapolis.

The Titans’ leading receiver was double-teamed after tight end Delanie Walker left the game early with a concussion.

Kendall Wright, shown here between Colts LB Robert Mathis and S LaRon Landry, said he experienced double teams after Delanie Walker left last week's game with a concussion.

“I started getting doubled,” Wright said. “It was my first time that I had a linebacker inside of me and a nickel defender outside of me so it was hard, but Nate (Washington) had a great game, and we’ve just got to make plays when we can.”

In addition to missing out on Walker’s production in the passing game, the absence created a ripple effect with the defense paying more attention to Wright, who has career highs of 71 catches and 840 yards this season.

Offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains said last week was “one of the most difficult games we’ve coached” because of the absence of Stevens and losses of Walker and fullback Collin Mooney eliminated some of the packages the Titans had in the game plan. Mooney was placed on injured reserve this week with a tear on his hamstring that will require surgery.

Tennessee brought back fullback Quinn Johnson and signed veteran tight end Visanthe Shiancoe this week to help.

Stevens was limited in practice Thursday after not participating Wednesday. The Titans won’t know more about Walker’s status for Sunday’s game at Denver until Friday, but the offense could get help from the return of tight end Craig Stevens, who missed last week’s game because of a concussion he suffered at Oakland on Nov. 24.

Loggains said losing Walker affected Wright and Tennessee’s capabilities on third downs, and missing Stevens impacted the run game on first and second downs.

“Both of those guys have a bigger role in the offense than what people (realize),” Loggains said. “Everyone knows what (Delanie) does, but losing Craig, I think hurts your run game a little bit.”

The Titans are figuring out how much they can assign to Johnson and Shiancoe.

“The other challenge is if those guys are able to play, how long can they play? We have contingency plans for everything,” Loggains said. “We have a fullback that hasn’t played football in nine weeks, but that can’t be an excuse. They’ve got to be ready to play. We’ve got one of the best teams in the National Football League and we’re going to their place and need to be ready for this opportunity.”

Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick joined Loggains and Titans coach Mike Munchak in hoping Stevens and Walker can return because a significant part of the plan will be keeping the ball for extended periods of time to keep it out of Peyton Manning’s hands.

“You hope to have everybody on board. Just like going into last week, we had some contingency plans just in case guys went down and got hurt,” Fitzpatrick said. “You work around it. We’ve got our plan in and are hoping that those guys are going to be back and if one or both can’t be, you move forward, but we definitely want those guys back. They’re big parts of our offense.”

DENVER’S CORNERS BACK?: Broncos CB Champ Bailey has dealt with injury issues this season but returned to the lineup last week against Kansas City. Getting a 12-time Pro Bowler and three-time All-Pro corner back in the lineup would help anyone, but it coincided with the absence of former Tennessee State star Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, who suffered an injury just before halftime at New England on Nov. 24.

The Broncos allowed 34 points to the Patriots after Rodgers-Cromartie left the game, and gave up 28 last week at Kansas City.

Washington said the absence of “DRC” may trump the return of Bailey at this stage in their careers.

“I think his youth right now and his ability to understand the game at the year he’s in gives them an understanding of how to play like a younger Champ,” Washington said. “I don’t want to take anything away from Champ’s ability to play this game still, he’s still an amazing smart player out there and knows the game’s ins and outs but I don’t think his physical ability allows him to go out and play as well as DRC, so they’ll probably be better with DRC than they would be with having Champ back but this is a team that’s playoff bound. They’ll find a way to put some things together in order to hold up.”

Bailey and Rodgers-Cromartie practiced fully Thursday, according to the Broncos’ injury report.

CASEY CREDITED: Defensive tackle Jurrell Casey was credited this week by Elias Sports Bureau with a second sack in Sunday’s game against the Colts. The sack was originally attributed to Derrick Morgan but shifted to Casey.

The decision moved Casey into a tie for the league sacks lead among defensive tackles and tied Ray Childress for the second most by a defensive tackle in Titans/Oilers franchise history. Childress recorded nine in 1993, one season after recording 13 (the most by a DT in franchise history) in 1992. The first year sacks were officially counted was 1982.

Casey and rookie cornerback Blidi Wreh-Wilson each celebrated their 24th birthdays Thursday.

INJURY UPDATES: Damian Williams practiced fully for the first time since injuring his hip during a punt return on Nov. 10. Munchak said Williams “looked good” and didn’t seem to experience any setbacks, but the team would wait until Friday to see how he progresses.

Wright (ankle) fully participated after being limited Wednesday, Brett Kern (back) was limited after not practicing Wednesday, Akeem Ayers experienced a sore groin toward the end of Thursday’s practice, and the Titans were cautious with Johnson’s hamstring. Click here for the full injury report.

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