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Judging from his increased playing time – and coach Mike Mularkey’s comments on Monday – the Titans like what they’ve seen from the rookie from Middle Tennessee State.
By his own count, Titans safety Kevin Byard blitzed less than three times during his entire college career at MTSU.
That’s one game for Byard on a lot of Sundays.
“You have to blitz like you are a bat out of hell,’’ Byard said of his approach. “It is a mentality. And I relish those moments when I get the chance.”
A third-round draft pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, Byard has been a do-it-all performer for the Titans in his rookie season. He’s played in coverage, been used in blitz packages, and he’s been a regular contributor on special teams.
Titans coach Mike Mularkey said this week the team plans to give Byard and fellow rookie defensive back Kalan Reeda chance in the return game in Saturday’s preseason game Tennessee Titans jersey china against the Panthers. Both players have regularly caught balls in practice to get prepared.
“Honestly, going into this year I knew it was only going to be a matter of time before I was really feeling comfortable out there, and before I could really go out there and make plays fast,’’ he said. “But all that stuff really means nothing if we are not getting wins. If I have one tackle, nine tackles, 12 tackles it doesn’t matter. I just want to win.”
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On Sunday, the Titans will face the Green Bay Packers, and quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
Byard is very familiar with the five-time Pro Bowler, and two-time league MVP.
Then one day Ramsay drove by middle school practice on the way home.
“And all of a sudden, out of this group, is this towering kid,’’ Ramsay said. “I always equate it to a stock having a good month on a chart. It was way, way above the others. I was like, ‘OK, this is Derrick.’ And the rest is history I guess.”
Derrick, of course, was Derrick Henry. On Saturday, when the Titans face the Jaguars, Henry will return to the Jacksonville area. It’s where he became a star at Yulee High – between Amelia Island and Jacksonville – before heading to the University of Alabama, where he won a Heisman Trophy.
Following the team’s win over the Jaguars, Henry said he’s ready to contribute as much as the team needs him to in the second half of the season.
He gave credit to the offensive line, and those around him while talking about a night “I’ll remember for the rest of my life.”
Henry wasn’t smiling when he said it. But it’s safe to say, the Jaguars weren’t smiling either.
“Whenever my number is called, I just want to make plays,” Henry said. “We just want to play physical and run the ball.