The Tennessee Titans made a move Monday to bolster their run-blocking by adding veteran tight end Luke Stocker to the roster.
Stocker, who signed a reported two-year deal, had spent seven years with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, before being released recently as the Bucs moved to get younger at the position. Stocker, 29, get a sort of homecoming as he played college football at the University of Tennessee. The Titans made room on the 53-man roster by placing defensive lineman DaQuan Jones on injured reserve.
Titans coach Mike Mularkey admitted recently that the blocking of rookie tight end Jonnu Smith was still a work in progress. The third-round pick was being asked, along with Phillip Supernaw, to step into a role previously occupied by Craig Stevens and Anthony Fasano in recent years.
Mularkey, himself a former NFL tight end and tight ends coach, said Stocker is similar to Fasano in that he is a versatile player.
“Actually, he can (block), he can move – the versatility was what we like,” Mularkey said. “He can block the point, can move, can lineup in the backfield as a fullback. He does have some special teams value as well. There’s a lot of things he can do for you, a lot of game experience, lot of game experience. It just gives you another option.”
Mularkey said he did not believe it would take Stocker long to get up to speed, since Tampa Bay runs a very similar system to the Titans.
“He’s very intelligent. He’s seen this offense in Atlanta is very similar. It’s the same offense we ran in Atlanta, Dirk Koetter ran. Same terminology, same everything, so it’s very similar.”
As for what Stocker’s arrival for the stretch run might mean for Smith, Mularkey said it would depend upon what the game plan calls for.
“We’ll find that out when we get into game planning, we’re just in the beginning stages. Arizona’s not a familiar foe, so we’ve got some work to do on these guys. We’re all sitting separately putting our game plan together. We’re not near in those discussions yet,” Mularkey said.
Stocker had three receptions for 18 yards this season and has 52 catches for 400 yards and three touchowns in his seven-year career. His best season as a receiver came in 2012 when he had 16 receptions.