Rookie Ryan Mouton is now apparently the man the Tennessee Titans will turn to on punt returns.
For Mouton, it’s a role he is not accustomed to, even though it’s been a while since he has returned a punt in an actual meaningful game.
Mouton, who returned kickoffs in his two seasons at the University of Hawaii, has not been a punt returner since his days at Blinn Junior College in 2005-06.
“I’m definitely excited. I’m ready to take advantage of the opportunity,” Mouton said.
Mouton did return three punts in preseason with a long return of 11 yards as part of the punt return competition before suffering a high ankle sprain in practice just days after he returned an interception for a touchdown against Tampa Bay.
As for the difference in handling punts and kickoffs (which Javon Ringer apparently will continue to do), Mouton explained that fielding punts is a tougher chore, but one he says he is ready for.
“Actually, I ended up doing kickoff returns in college, and there’s a difference. The main thing is to catch the ball first and try to make a play after that,” he said. “It’s a lot harder. A kickoff, the thing is coming right at you, but a punt, it’s high in the air and it might be five seconds before it even comes down.”
Tight end Jared Cook improved his chances of playing Sunday by practicing for the first time since injuring his right ankle on Aug. 29 against Cleveland.
Having Cook would help the Titans tremendously at the tight end position, where Bo Scaife continues to miss practice because of a left knee injury.
In addition, linebacker David Thornton missed a second straight practice with a knee injury. Practice squad defensive tackle Mitch King continues to miss time as well with an undisclosed injury.
The Titans began practice outside for a couple of periods before retreating into their indoor bubble because of lightning in the area.
Forecasts for Sunday are calling for a chance of rain.
“We started outside with the hope that we would have a practice session in the elements, but lightning prohibited that. You know, hopefully tomorrow we’ll get some work outside. If not, it’s just kind of one of those deals we’ll be prepared for,” Titans coach Jeff Fisher said.
Running back Chris Johnson has a pair of shirts that will be coming out for fans to buy, one that says ECD/Go Hard or Go Home and one that says “I’m Homeless.”
The ECD stands for his self-described nickname of “Every Coach’s Dream” accompanied by the phrase Go Hard or Go Home.
As for the meaning, Johnson has been using the “homeless” phrase on his Twitter account for weeks, and finally explained that it means that if you cant’ “go home” you have no choice but to “go hard.”
Backfield mate LenDale White said he also has some t-shirts coming, including a “Save the Last Dance” t-shirt for the new nickname he gave himself.