Healthy Britt key to Titans' talented receivers

Healthy Britt key to Titans' talented receivers

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) Kenny Britt feels as if he's finally shaking off the rust from being out most of last season and missing chunks of this year with other leg injuries.

The Titans are about to find out how much that helps boost their offense.

``We definitely expect him to make `SportsCenter'-type plays every time he has an opportunity to. He's that good,'' Titans quarterback Matt Hasselbeck said of Britt.

It's been a long time since Britt hit the field feeling as healthy as he does now. He started Sept. 23 against Detroit, his first start since tearing his right ACL in September 2011.

Then the receiver who also had a surgery to clean up each knee between May and the end of June, hurt his left ankle in that game.

This is the first week that Britt really has practiced fully with the Titans, and he's not on the injury report either. That's allowing Britt to become more accustomed both to the speed of the game and how fast a pass reaches him along with defensive backs.

It also gives Tennessee a full group of receivers, and that the offense looking up just when the Titans (2-4) are trying to put together a winning streak.

``Everyone kind of coming together at the right time is pretty much what we need now,'' Titans coach Mike Munchak said Thursday. ``We know we have to put a run together here and play well for a while here to get back in this thing.''

The Titans have put together some good targets.

Veteran Nate Washington has a knack for spectacular catches such as the 70-yarder he caught over the back of a Lions defender for a TD in September.

Rookie Kendall Wright, their first-round pick out of Baylor, has a team-leading 33 catches and is tied with Wes Welker and Victor Cruz for an NFL-best 14 receptions on third down.

Jared Cook is second only to Rob Gronkowski among AFC tight ends in yards receiving since 2011 with 1,050, and he's averaging 14.6 yards a catch. He already has a 61-yard catch this season. Tight end Craig Stevens is on pace for a career season catching the ball, while Chris Johnson also has 16 catches.

Britt has 13 catches for 145 yards in limited playing time this season, including his first touchdown catch last week to help the Titans beat the Steelers 26-23.

But it's the 6-foot-3, 215-pound Britt who is the physical, downfield threat who can help open the rest of the field up by drawing double teams.

Buffalo coach Chan Gailey says having Britt back makes a big difference, especially with Washington and Wright available too.

``That is three, I want to say quality receivers but that is probably underrating them,'' Gailey said. ``That is three very good receivers, where all of a sudden now they can stretch the field and you have a great runner back there. It makes all the difference in the world.''

The Bills (3-3) tend to press receivers off the line, and that's fine with Britt, even if Buffalo puts two defenders on him.

``If they do, we have got great receivers on the other side that can get the job done ...,'' Britt said. ``We go out there, we have a great receiving corps, and we have a great quarterback who can throw the ball. I'm excited about this week.''

Britt was off to the best start of his career in 2011 with 17 catches for 289 yards and three TDs before getting hurt early in his third game. Even with him limited this season, the Titans rank 15th in the NFL averaging 243.8 yards per game.

Eight different Titans caught passes against Pittsburgh. Britt said that kind of balance is what they saw during the offseason program and the game offered a view of what Tennessee can do with everyone nearly 100 percent healthy. Jake Locker is the lone missing piece at quarterback, though he is expected back Oct. 28 against Indianapolis.

``There's definitely enough balls for everyone,'' Britt said.

Notes: Munchak said Locker did not have any soreness in his left, non-throwing shoulder after his first practice this month, and the quarterback was able to do as much Thursday as he did Wednesday. LB Colin McCarthy (right ankle) and DT Jurrell Casey (shoulder) missed a second straight practice, and Munchak said they hope both can work Friday.


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Everything you need to know about the new and improved MLB Trade Deadline

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Everything you need to know about the new and improved MLB Trade Deadline

For a long time, Major League Baseball had the best, most exciting trade deadline among the four major sports. In recent seasons, that excitement has been eclipsed by the popularity of the NBA, but baseball still stands ahead of football and hockey in terms of in-season movement.

In an effort to shake things up a bit, baseball’s trade deadline underwent some changes in the offseason.

Notably, while July 31 has always been deadline day, in past years it was a bit of a misnomer. July 31 was technically just the Non-Waiver Trade Deadline in years past. The month of August has always allowed trades to be made as long as players pass through waivers. If a player is claimed off waivers, his team can either pull him back, let him go for nothing, or negotiate a deal with his claiming team only.

This obviously made for much more limited movement in August, but it was always an option. 

Not anymore. Now? July 31 the *only* deadline.

The August revocable waivers trade deadline was always a bit convoluted, and it never made much sense to have more than one deadline. So it’s logical to think the powers that be would want to simplify things for the league.

Reportedly, Major League Baseball is hoping the change will not only help simplify in-season moves, but also help jumpstart offseason activity. The thinking is if teams have even just one fewer option to improve their roster midseason, then contenders will be forced to get aggressive in the offseason.

It remains to be seen if that will come to fruition, but one forthcoming change does seem pretty obvious. The singular trade deadline should make for a much more active July.

Both buyers and sellers have to commit to a direction earlier in the season now. Last year, for example, the Nationals executed their mini-firesale in mid-August, once it had become clear they were not going to compete for the postseason. At the end of the July they were still undecided, which is why they held onto Bryce Harper.

Considering how long it can take major deals to come together, teams have to essentially decide by the All-Star break if they are in or out on competing for October. It will be especially difficult for teams to read the writing on the wall when they are hovering around .500.

As of this writing, there are 10 teams within six games of .500 in either direction, and that doesn’t include organizations like the Red Sox, Nationals and Athletics who have quality records but are way behind runaway division leaders. Will they want to trade away controllable assets for a shot at a one-game Wild Card berth?

General Managers who can forecast their team’s likelihood of competing, and respond accordingly, will be rewarded under the new system. Orioles GM Mike Elias already began his team’s sell-off, trading Andrew Cashner away weeks before the end of July. By contrast, in 2018 both Jonathan Schoop and Kevin Gausman were moved by the Orioles with under an hour to go on deadline day.

It’s hard to perfectly predict all the ways rule changes can affect a sport, but in the case of the singular trade deadline, it’s obvious that teams are now required to commit earlier, with fewer games of information from which to work.

That’s exciting for a sport that could use some more player movement-related excitement.


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Summer Guide: The top restaurants and bars for before and after Baltimore Orioles games

Summer Guide: The top restaurants and bars for before and after Baltimore Orioles games

Last summer, NBC Sports Washington put together guides that detailed the best bars and restaurants to watch the Capitals' Stanley Cup run and FIFA World Cup. Earlier this summer we gave you some spots around Nationals Park too.

With summer 2019 halfway through and baseball in full swing, it's time to highlight the go-to spots to eat and drink around the ballpark that forever changed baseball. 

In no particular order, consider these: 

Pickles Pub, 520 Washington Blvd, Baltimore, MD 21230

  • Across the street from Oriole Park at Camden Yards
  • Always packed, it's the number one go-to bar for Orioles fans before and after the games 
  • A dozen beers on tap, both local and national brands
  • Great deals throughout baseball season

Sliders Bar and Grille, 504 Washington Blvd, Baltimore, MD 21230

  • Another bar adjacent to Camden Yards
  • Less crowded than Pickles, but just as good when it comes to snacks and drinks
  • Bottle, canned, and draft beer options
  • Gameday specials built around the Orioles season

Abbey Burger Bistro, 1041 Marshall St, Baltimore, MD 21230

  • A bit further (about a mile walk) but well worth it
  • Famous for, you guessed it, their wide selection of crafted hamburgers
  • Endorsed by Oriole legend Adam Jones, who even created a burger for their menu
  • Also make spiked milkshakes for adults looking to cool off with a tasty treat

The Yard, 110 S Eutaw St, Baltimore, MD 21201

  • Inside the Marriott Inner Harbor 
  • Quieter, less-crowded option compared to more popular pregame locations
  • Crab-based breakfast options for fans looking for an early start

Camden Pub, 647 W. Pratt St, Baltimore, MD 21201

  • Two blocks from Camden Yards
  • Special discounts with game tickets
  • Variety of food options, including well-known wings

Quigley's Half Irish Pub, 633 Portland St, Baltimore, MD 21230

  • Federal Hill location, a block away from the stadium
  • Another less-crowded option, with standard bar fare
  • Just as likely to host baseball fans and neighborhood regulars alike

Pratt Street Ale House, 206 W Pratt St, Baltimore, MD 21201

  • Three blocks from Oriole Park at Camden Yards 
  • Dozens of beer options, plus signature cocktails and wine choices aplenty
  • Well-known nightlife spot for postgame celebrations

Seafood Options:

L.P. Steamers, 1100 E Fort Ave, Baltimore, MD 21230

  • Have to drive instead of walk (9 minutes by car)
  • Considered a go-to spot for Maryland-style seafood 
  • Mentioned specifically by Manny Machado upon his return to Baltimore

Phillips Seafood, 601 E. Pratt Street, Baltimore, MD 21202

  • 20-minute walk to Camden Yards, right in the heart of the Inner Harbor
  • Huge letters outside the building a part of the local skyline
  • Famous for their crabcakes, but serve all kinds of seafood and non-seafood options

Rusty Scupper, 402 Key Highway, Inner Harbor Marina, Baltimore, MD 21230

  • Another slightly further, pricier option for local seafood
  • Beautiful view right on the water
  • Live patio entertainment
  • Happy hour from 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. every Monday through Friday

Postgame Dessert Options:

Insomnia Cookies, Federal Hill, 1059 S Charles St, Baltimore, MD 21230

  • 20-minute walk from the stadium
  • Wide variety of deluxe cookie options, plus brownies, ice cream, cake and dessert sandwiches
  • Open until 3 a.m. every night

Polar Roll Creamery, 600 E Pratt St Suite 105, Baltimore, MD 21202

  • 20-minutes from Camden Yards, on the Inner Harbor 
  • Rolled ice cream
  • Watch yourserver roll the ice cream in front of you