Rishard Matthews Ready to Lay it on Line for Mariota


NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Titans offensive coordinator Terry Robiskie has made one thing clear since joining the team earlier this offseason.

He wants tough, physical players on the field.

New Titans receiver Rishard Matthews is ready to answer the call.

"That is my mindset all the time,'' Matthews said on Friday. "The kind of guy that I am, if I need to go out there and block somebody, I'll block them. If I need to go out there and make a catch over the middle, I'll make it while taking a hit. … I just feel like I am that type of receiver."

The Titans signed the former Dolphins receiver on Thursday.

Matthews is coming off his best season as a pro.

In 2015, his first year as a full-time starter, Matthews had a career-high 43 catches for 662 yards and four touchdowns in 10 games, before exiting early in the 11th game with a season-ending rib injury. Matthews got the attention of the Titans in a game at Nissan Stadium on Oct. 18, when he had six catches for 85 yards, and he made a tough catch across the middle.

"I think that game last year here really displayed my toughness,'' Matthews said with a smile. "I took a hit across the middle from Michael Griffin, he kind of laid me out. But I got back up.

"I tried to run over the other safety, (Da'Norris) Searcy, but he got the best of me. He slammed me down, so that didn't work out. But I think I showed kind of what I was about, and showed them what I could do."

Matthews said he's already texted with quarterback Marcus Mariota. He plans to meet up with him and start working with him soon.

"I feel like I can do it all,''' Matthews said. "If I need to go deep to catch a ball I can. But at the same time I feel like I can go across the middle and make the tough catches, the short passes. Overall (I see myself) as a tough player who is willing to compete."

Matthews brings another weapon for Mariota in the offense. Earlier in the week, the Titans signed former Cowboys and Eagles running back DeMarco Murray.

In four NFL seasons, Matthews has 107 catches for 1,396 yards and eight touchdowns.

Matthews, a seventh-round pick in 2012 out of Nevada, joins a group of Titans receivers that includes veteran Kendall Wright and Harry Douglas, along with Justin Hunter, Dorial Green-Beckham and Tre McBride, among others.

Green-Beckham led all Titans receivers with 549 receiving yards on 32 catches in his rookie season in 2015, although tight end Delanie Walker led the team in catches (94) and receiving yards (1,088).

"I just want to be able to help (Marcus) wherever he wants the help, needs the help,'' Matthews said. "I just want to let him know I am here. I think he is doing a good job at progressing and I just want to be a part of it and let him know he can rely on me when the ball is thrown my way.

"That is the big thing, giving that quarterback the confidence that when I throw it to him he is going to make that catch at all times."

New Titans WR Rishard Matthews arrives at Saint Thomas Sports Park to sign his contract. (Photos: Gary Glenn)

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