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Dexter McCluster Ready to be Spark for Titans Offense

Posted Sep 10, 2015

Running back Dexter McCluster is ready to be a spark plug for the Titans offense in 2015.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Titans have running backs in all shapes and sizes, players sturdy enough to move the pile and others who take pride in making defenders miss.

Then there’s Dexter McCluster, who has his own unique style.

“I’ve always been that jitterbug type of guy,’’ McCluster said with a smile. “I see the hole, and I hit it as fast as possible. I pride myself in being a spark. I want to be the guy to make that spark to ignite the offense and get that scoring drive.”

A 5-foot-8, 170-pounder, McCluster is small compared to the team’s other running backs, from Bishop Sankey (5-10, 209) to Antonio Andrews (5-10, 225) to recently signed Terrance West (5-10, 225). Fullback Jalston Fowler (5-11, 254) is the real bruiser of the bunch.

After a solid preseason, McCluster is hoping for a bigger role in 2015. Coach Ken Whisenhunt said the Titans planned on using McCluster more last season after signing him last March, but game situations didn’t allow it.

“I definitely think I will be on the field more,’’ McCluster sad. “Me and coach Whiz, we had talks in his office last year and sat down and it was just pretty much how the game was swinging. We had plays in there for me, but it didn’t come around because we fell behind in most of those games. I am just going to find my rhythm every time I am in there.”

Said Whisenhunt: “I’d like to say that we plan on using him like we thought we were going to use him (last year). We didn’t really get to a lot of those things because when you’re down by a couple of touchdowns, they’re not going to respect some of the things that he can do well.”

McCluster carried the ball just 40 times for 131 yards a year ago, and he also caught 26 passes for 197 yards and a touchdown. A Pro Bowler with the Chiefs in 2013, McCluster was also the team’s punt returner.

McCluster had an eye-opening preseason this year. He averaged 5.5 yards per carry while scoring a touchdown, and he also caught six passes for 41 yards. He’s once again expected to handle punt returns.

“Dexter is really playing well right now, doing some good things,’’ Titans running backs coach Sylvester Croom said. “He is running hard. For a little man, his pass protection technique has improved probably the most in the entire group. He gives us explosiveness, a change of pace, and he is running the ball. He definitely gives you something in the passing game. One-on-one matchups against him are going to be tough (on teams).”

In his second season with the Titans, McCluster said he feels more comfortable.

He’s hoping that will pay off with his performance on Sundays.

 “This year it is not me trying to think about everything I have to do. This year it is just going out there and playing and feeling it and letting it come to me instead of trying to pressure something,’’ he said. “That’s the biggest difference between last year and this year. I’m just a lot more comfortable out there and hopefully that will pay off.”