In his four years with the Tennessee Titans, the one thing Justin Hunter has been is consistently inconsistent.
He admits it, and Coach Mike Mularkey knows it as well.
Asked what he needs to show the Titans in camp and preseason, Hunter said, “Consistency. That’s what they want to see. Being aggressive attacking the ball and everything like that. I think if I just keep those two keys with me, I’ll be all right.”
With the addition of veteran Andre Johnson to the receiver room, Hunter now finds himself running with the third team when he gets on the field. But he is trying not to let that affect him.
“It’s a little bit of frustration, but at the same time, I’m making the best of my opportunities. I’m not showing (emotion). I’m just going in, doing what I need to do and trying to be as productive as I can,” Hunter said.
The consistency and production are areas where Mularkey continues to issue challenges to Hunter to try and tap the former second-round pick’s athletic potential. There is the question that Hunter’s inconsistency is leading to too much one step forward and then a step back again.
In Thursday’s practice, Hunter had a pass knocked away in one-on-ones by rookie defensive back Kalan Reed after Hunter had beaten the cornerback on the route.
“Again, (we want to see) consistency and making some plays,” Mularkey said. “We had a deep ball today in one-on-one. You’ve got to catch that. You have to catch that and you have to put it away. You have to score. That has to be every single day, so you quarterback knows, ‘If I’ve got a one-on-one and he’s over there, he’s got to win.’ That’s really up to him. The inconsistency has not allowed him to move up the charts.”
Another Titans receiver is also battling inconsistency as well. Dorial Green-Beckham, who has been running as a second-team wideout, has also been up-and-down during camp thus far.
“He is like you’ve seen out here. He’s had some really good days, and some days not so good,” Mularkey explained. “Today was another one where I thought he could have stepped up and had another solid day, especially in the two-minute drill where we needed a big play. He needs to make a play. Again, we’re going to keep challenging guys, keep giving them opportunities and see where it goes.”
For his part, Mularkey and the coaching staff will keep challenging the players to become more consistent and more polished. He feels like he owes them that much.
“I’ll always do that as long as I’m coaching. I want them to succeed, and if I don’t challenge them, they will go by the wayside on their own,” he said. “Again, it’s just whether they accept that challenge and how they are as a man. I want them to succeed more than they want them to succeed. I’m trying to do as much as I can and get better in the process. Whatever they need me to do, I’m going to do it.”