On Kendall Wright's unique route freedom

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Anytime I’ve heard about how a receiver doesn’t run the same route the same way all the time, it’s been a knock on that receiver.

Until now.

When Tennessee Titans quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick said that about second-year receiver Kendall Wright, he meant it as a compliment.

“Kendall is kind of 'streetballerish,'” Fitzpatrick said. “When I was in Buffalo I always got questions about Stevie Johnson, who was the same way. They both have basketball player backgrounds. Just very quick. It’s been nice to get on the same page with him a little bit. He’s never going to run the same route twice the same way, and so sometimes he can be a difficult guy to throw to. But I’ve got a good chemistry with him right now. He’s a fun guy because he’s always going to be open…”

“He’s hard to cover. He kind of is freewheeling out there a little bit. That can screw you up a little bit as a quarterback. But the feel that I have for him, some of it is my background with Steve Johnson. Kendall is the type of receiver, you need to give him some freedom; that’s when he’s at his best this year.”

Intense wide receivers coach Shawn Jefferson rarely talks to the media, so there wasn’t an opportunity this week to ask him about Wright’s freedom to freelance.

But Wright said he’s heard no criticism about it, and offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains says it’s a rare freedom that Wright has been granted.

“I think it’s a little bit of the Wes Welker,” Loggains said. “Kendall, he needs to know where he needs to be and how deep it needs to be, and he knows at what point Ryan is expecting him to be there. How he gets there? You can’t put the kid in a box because you’d take away some of his creativity. I think as the season has gone on, he’s started to understand more the distribution and timing of it. It’s given us the opportunity to give him a little bit of leeway in how he gets there.”

Awarding a receiver that sort of latitude is a very rare thing.

“He’d be the only guy on this team that has that option,” Loggains said. “He’s the only guy I’ve ever been a part of on a football team, any coaching staff I’ve ever been on, that has had that freedom to get where he needs to get.”