Kenny Britt Now Holds the Key for Titans in 2011 After Chris Johnson's Return

Kyle ZALLContributor IIISeptember 3, 2011

SAN DIEGO - OCTOBER 31:  Kenny Britt #18 of the Tennessee Titans looks on from the sideline against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium on October 31, 2010 in San Diego, California. The Chargers defeated the Titans 33-25.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

With all the Titans news revolving around Chris Johnson’s holdout one major factor has been overlooked: Kenny Britt’s availability and what that could potentially mean for Tennessee this season.

Reports coming out of camp are that Britt is finally 100 percent. He has been practicing with the first team, and even got some game action against the Saints in the preseason finale. A good sign by all accounts, as we are less than two weeks away from kickoff.

With the worry of any discipline being sent Britt’s way and the hamstring injury looking like things of the past (fingers crossed Titans fans), it appears the young receiver could truly break out in 2011.

If he is able to improve on the mind-blowing ability he displayed last season and develop some chemistry with new QB Matt Hasselbeck, he could very well help vault this team into playoff contention as soon as this year.

Everyone who is anyone knows who the best player on the Titans is Chris Johnson. There is no other opinion to have. After all, he is the one who got $30 million guaranteed.

But when taking a look at last season and the team’s success, you quickly realize the season does not simply hinge on CJ. The catalyst for the team’s inconsistency and the player who seemed to have the most impact on wins and losses was not the All-World running back, but instead their up-and-coming receiver.


In games in which Britt recorded at least one catch, the Titans record was 5-5. This includes two losses to the Colts by a combined five points late in the season when it was all but over for the Titans. This also included a fast start out of the gate where the team found themselves with a 5-2 record to start the year. And without him you ask? How about just 2-4.


Additionally, there was roughly a ten-point difference per game when he suited up compared to those in which he was on the sidelines. In the four games he missed in entirety with his injury, the Titans failed to put up 20 points even once. In his first two games back they put up 31 and 28, respectively.

In other words, this guy is a difference maker.

Looking at Britt’s 42 catches for 775 yards and nine touchdowns last year may not impress, but that doesn’t mean his effect was undeniable.

It’s easy to see that due to his unique skill set, Britt affects the game without even touching the ball. He is sort of like a poor-man's Randy Moss in many ways. A big receiver with great speed that can also stretch the field is not someone you can ignore.

In games where Britt lined out wide, he was able to keep the defense honest. After abusing the Eagles last year with over 200 receiving yards and three touchdowns in Week 7, he put the league on notice. He made it clear that he needed to be accounted for on every single play or he would take their corners out back behind the woodshed. Week 7 was his coming out party.


But that party was abruptly ended. And helped end the Titans season.

The week after the Eagles game, Britt injured his hamstring and the team went into an immediate tailspin. They went on to lose the game in which he got hurt and the next five as well. His absence on the field showed his affect on this team.


With Johnson finally ending his holdout and signing his mega-deal teamed with key injuries in Indy and Houston, many fans are hoping that this could be the time for the Titans to make a run at the division.

These fans are not wrong, but it is not simply because CJ is reporting for Week 1.

Lets look at the numbers and the reality of the situation. As good as CJ is, we are used to him to producing. He is expected to make plays all over the field, even if it is me who is lined up at wide receiver. But the team needs a stud receive to complement.

The player who will pull this train out of the station is Britt. Giving Hasselbeck a deep threat, taking attention off the other receivers and tight ends, and opening things up for the ground game is something only one man on this roster can pull off.

The Titans need all of this to be successful. This is the year for Britt to demonstrate he has matured into a true professional. The team is counting on him.