Titans' kicking game impresses

Posted Nov. 13, 2010 @ 1:43 a.m.
Posted By Mike Wilkening

Overall, the Titans' special teams have been a strength. Their specialists have had very good seasons. PK Rob Bironas, who's been one of the NFL's steadiest at his position in recent years, has missed one field goal and has been strong on kickoffs. P Brett Kern ranks among the AFC's best in net punting, with the Titans' coverage teams limiting opposing punt returners to 131 yards on 22 returns (6.0 avg). (The Titans did surrender a kickoff-return TD to the Steelers' Antonio Brown in Week Two.) One of the keys to the Titans' kicking-game success: They have added several players strong in this area. Reserve LBs Tim Shaw and Patrick Bailey, signed in September and known for their work on coverage teams, have been as advertised, leading the club in special-teams stops along with rookie CB Alterraun Verner. The breakout player has been rookie RS Mark Mariani, who has ranked among the AFC leaders in kickoff- and punt-return average. Fast and instinctive, Mariani, a seventh-round pick from Montana, has solidified an area of concern in 2009.