It was the talk of the afternoon rookie orientation — ‘catch or no catch’ by rookie wide receiver Kenny Britt as he went up over his former Rutgers teammate Jason McCourty in the back left corner of the end zone on the final play of passing drills.
Just before the play Titans coach Jeff Fisher had announced that the play would be the “world championship — Rutgers vs. Rutgers,” pitting the two college teammates against each other. Britt, the Titans top pick, out-jumped McCourty to catch the football, but it appeared that he got only one foot down in bounds. Good in college, but not the NFL.
Britt celebrated the touchdown and afterwards lobbied that he had indeed caught the ball with both feet in.
“I believe I got both feet down, but we’ve also got to go to replay, and I believe the refs are going to agree with me,” Britt said.
Other observers, including Fisher and McCourty and later even secondary coach Marcus Robertson, indicated to the contrary.
“He came down with one foot in. Last year, it would have been a touchdown,” Fisher said. Asked if he would have reviewed the play, the coach said no.
McCourty who had faced Britt numerous times with the Scarlet Knights agreed with Fisher’s view of the call and indicated the play was typical of the battles they had on the practice field in New Jersey.
“Me and Kenny these past two or three years have been going after one another in practice for so long. It’s always a fun competition because he’s a very good wide receiver,” McCourty said.
Despite opinions that the play was not a catch, it did nothing to douse excitement of the combination of athletic ability and confident swagger shown by Britt on the practice field. It was evident in his explanation of taking No. 18 because his college number 88 is already taken by tight end Craig Stevens.
“I think I look good in 18, so I selected it. The number doesn’t make the player. The player makes the number,” Britt said.
McCourty has seen Britt’s confidence up close.
“That comes from how passionate he is about the game. You see him out there. He works extremely hard and how he works at his craft,” McCourty said.
Speaking of working hard, Britt said it was off to the film room to work areas that need improvement.
“I’m going to go in there in the meeting room and see what I did wrong and see what I need to work at,” Britt said. “Being a big, physical receiver, [I want to work on] coming in and out of my breaks quickly and stop leaning back. So that’s why I want to go back in and work on details.”
Details after this weekend will involve plenty of playbook study for Britt and all the other Titans rookies.