Tennessee Titans wide receiver Justin Hunter has been an enigma of sorts since his arrival in Nashville, after all he possesses as much physical talent as any wide out in the entire NFL, yet he has failed to reach that lofty potential.
Injuries have ended his last two seasons prematurely, but even when healthy and on the field Hunter has failed to take his game to the levels his athletic ability suggests he should attain,
In three seasons as a Titan, Hunter has managed just 68 receptions for 1,116 yards and 8 touchdowns. Not exactly numbers of a player selected in the second round with the 34th overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft.
Entering the final season of his rookie contract, Hunter is one of those players who is on notice that his play must improve his play or face potentially being released at worst or diminished playing time if he can keep his place on the roster at all.
Make no mistake, athletically Hunter is one of the best athletes on the team at any position, and with all do respect to both Kendall Wright and Dorial Green-Beckham, he is the best athlete in the receiver room too.
While Hunter knows he must produce immediately, he is taking a practical, laid back approach, which is something we would almost expect from the somewhat shy, and definietly quite personality that is Justin Hunter- he is prepared to make his case for his place and playing time.
"I've just got to make plays and do whats right and be at the places they need us to be," said Hunter. "It's on me to do my part and that's something that is being preached to everyone on the team."
Hunter spoke about the changes he is seeing inside the locker room and what it means to he and the team.
"There's a lot of high energy in this locker room with the new coach, new staff with the new g.m. (Jon Robinson) who is a cool nd nice guy who is always in meetings with us and is always talking about doing things the right way and showing a lot of energy," said Hunter. "It is really motivating to see what is happening here right now and we all have to get going."
Hunter likes the changes to the staff in that he feels comfortable with both offensive coordinator Terry Robiskie and new receivers coach Bob Bratkowski.
"He was a receiver coach so he's (Robiskie) going to be on us more than anything," said Hunter. " He's a receivers guy and he's going to be on us about everything, even the little things and that will make us better,"
"The biggest difference this year is that Jeff (former receivers coach Shawn Jefferson) was a high energy guy while Brat (Bratkowski) is laid back and cool to talk to while Jeff would be in your face and I think that's the biggest difference and why I'm comfortable with Brat.
As far as the difference in coaching styles, Hunter says it doesn't matter to him.
"No, it really doesn't matter to me because they're both going to get on you when something goes down," added Hunter. "I like the teaching part of what we're doing now."
Hunter concluded by saying he is motivated and understands his situation.
"I'm motivated and know what I have to do." concluded Hunter. "We've been talking about and working on receivers having to block better and make plays and that's what I've got to do.