NFL Week 14: One on One with Tennessee Titans Rookie Receiver Kendall Wright

By Stephanie Umek
Kendall Wright against Jaguars
Rob Foldy-USA TODAY Sports

The Tennessee Titans have no doubt had a rough year as far as the offense goes. But the addition of first round draft pick wide receiver Kendall Wright has been turning out to be an absolutely great move on their part. This year Kendall was chosen as a member of the Pepsi Max Rookie of the Week program.  This is a program in which fans can vote for a stand-out Rookie each week of the 2012 NFL regular season. And Wright is really glad to be a part of it.

“It’s a great honor to receive the opportunity. I’m really glad to be teaming up with Pepsi Max for the Rookie of the Week program.”

Fans get to vote for one of five nominated players on beginning every Tuesday at 9 am ET and the voting ends on Fridays at 3 pm ET.

Other players involved in the program include Trent Richardson (Cleveland Browns), Stephon Gilmore (Buffalo Bills), Dre Kirkpatrick (Cincinnati Bengals), Whitney Mercilus (Houston Texans), Alshon Jeffery (Chicago Bears), Fletcher Cox (Philadelphia Eagles) and Nick Perry (Green Bay Packers).

Just like the Titans schedule though, the transition from college ball to the NFL hasn’t been the easiest. Wright made the comment this afternoon during our interview that the biggest change was the speed of the game. That many people don’t realize how much faster it gets.

“The speed of the game and the speed of everybody on defense. They move way quicker than some of the defensive backs in college.”

It can be a lot for a younger player to handle and everyone needs a mentor. “I’ve been going to Nate Washington and if I really need to know anything I just go to him and talk to him.”

This season Wright has had 54 receptions for 516 yards with four touchdowns and only one fumble. But he still stays humble, which is one of the most important characteristics to have as an athlete. “I don’t compare myself to [other rookies]. I’m just working hard, just as hard as they are probably. I just go out there every week and just try to do my best and do what I can. Other rookies on other teams have their spot, and we have a lot of playmakers on our team so I know my role.”

It’s hard to be a playmaker though, and not make plays. And the Titans have come up more than once with no response. Wright doesn’t let that get to him though. “We are just staying positive no matter what the record is, it’s something to build on for next year.”

After a brutal game against the Chicago Bears, Titans owner Bud Adams gave the team a little talk before going into the game against the Miami Dolphins. He made it clear that it was more than just a talk but he wasn’t too harsh on the team. “It’s more of an evaluation of everybody. But it’s part of the league and we have to do the job.” Clearly something clicked because the Titans came out with a huge 37-3 victory in Miami.

“We haven’t had all that great of a season but we need to finish it right and win. It will give us more to build on for next season. You have to have fun and play with passion the whole time because it’s still your job and no matter how the season is going you can just go out there and not play or lose.”

This week the Titans prepare for the Indianapolis Colts, a team that they have already faced this season and is one of their loses. Wright will continue to do his normal routine to prepare and hopefully it turns out the way he wants it to.

“I’ve been watching a little bit and we’ve already played them once I haven’t really see anything change as far as their defense goes. We just have to go out there and focus, be ready for whatever.”

If any of you are wondering what a typical gameday is like for Kendall Wright, he gave me a little breakdown of his pregame rituals. He usually starts his morning by watching some explosive plays that the opposing defense has had the prior weeks. After that, it’s all pretty normal. He has a Lil’ Wayne mix that he made himself and he jams to that on his way to the stadium and while he is warming up. He also does not eat before a game.

The Titans and Colts meet this Sunday December 9 in Indianapolis.

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