Titans RB Dexter McCluster needs to find his niche

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Amid a 2-14 season, a lot of Tennessee Titans weren’t used in the ways we may have expected.

Running back Dexter McCluster was supposed to be a bit of a Swiss Army knife, catching a lot of passes out of the backfield and adding a different dynamic.

But he had limited chances, finishing the season with 40 carries for 131 yards (a 3.3-yard average) and 26 catches for 197 yards (a 7.6-yard average). He scored just one TD.

He broke off one 48-yard punt return, but was hardly great in that role, either.

Like virtually everyone, he’s expressing confidence as he heads into the second year in this offense.

“Right now, I know the plays, I know what I have to do, I know who I have to read and I’m feeling a lot more comfortable,” he said. (Here is video of him chatting with reporters this week, via the team’s website.)

But what kind of role can Tennessee really give him on offense?

He was cast as a guy who could be like Danny Woodhead was in the Chargers' offense in 2013, when Ken Whisenhunt was offensive coordinator there. That didn’t pan out.

And now, Bishop Sankey may be given the first chance at that sort of role, with rookie David Cobb potentially winding up with the primary carries.

The Titans need McCluster to be a better return man.

Maybe his niche on offense will evolve. Maybe it won’t. It’s hard to see him as a key cog based on his first season, but they’ll certainly continue to look for ways to have him be a factor.

In an ideal backfield, Cobb and Sankey do well and the Titans don't have a lot of cause to look to a changeup.