Luke Stocker just joined the Tennessee Titans, but the veteran tight end is hoping to quickly get up to speed in a new system and new offense to try and contribute soon for the stretch run.
Stocker was released two weeks ago by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after seven seasons there. Now, he is hoping to be part of a playoff run in Tennessee.
“After being release from Tampa, we were hoping to get a phone call from the Titans, and we were excited when we got one,” Stocker said Wednesday.
The chance to join the Titans was more than just a homecoming for Stocker, who is a short drive from Knoxville, where he played at the University of Tennessee and not too far from his hometown of Berea, Ky. Stocker said the Titans’ style fits his.
“I think it fits me perfectly, and that’s one of the things I’m excited about,” Stocker said. “Y’all have heard Coach (Mike) Mularkey use the catch phrase ‘exotic smashmouth.’ football. Smashmouth is exactly what I want to do and that’s the way I can contribute to this team and help them out.”
Mularkey said it is too early to determine if Stocker can learn enough to get up to speed and be active this Sunday at Arizona.
“I don’t know. That may be a Friday question, let him have a few days in the system,” Mularkey said.
Stocker said he is working to get up to speed as quickly as possible.
“I’ve got a pretty good grasp on the run game right now, but there are definitely different nuances and formations and shifts and motions,” Stocker said. “The cadence alone is different from what I’m used to. I’m just trying to get a full understanding of the system, hopefully sooner rather than later. … Right now I’m just trying to learn the schematics for all the tight end positions, so I can be ready to go when the time comes.”
Making a contribution
Titans safety Kevin Byard is making a $500 donation to his alma mater, Middle Tennessee, for tickets to the Camellia Bowl in Montgomery, Ala.
Blue Raiders head coach Rick Stockstill gave a $10,000 donation, and Byard has decided to contribute as well, along with some other former Blue Raider players.
“The first thing I saw was Coach Stock, that he has pledged $10,000 on Twitter. I thought it was a pretty cool deal,” Byard said. “Being in the Bahamas Bowl, I think a lot of the bowls we’ve been chosen for have been great distances and our fans aren’t able to travel, especially students, Phillip Tanner, a former running back (at MTSU) he kind of challenged me and Bennie Cunningham to match what he was doing. I have no problem making a contribution to a place I love and a place I call home,”
Wide receiver Rishard Matthews practiced on Wednesday and was limited in his work.
Matthews said he felt that there was a decent chance of being able to play Sunday in Arizona if he continues to progress.
“I feel good just to be back out there practicing. As far as Sunday, we’ll see,” Matthews said.
Three other Titans players were out of practice with injuries Wednesday, including linebacker Derrick Morgan (knee), tight end Delanie Walker (ankle) and cornerback Logan Ryan, who remains in the concussion protocol.