Rookie LB Kevin Dodd Makes Impact in First NFL Start



NASHVILLE, Tenn. —**  Titans rookie linebacker Kevin Dodd saw his snap count triple on Sunday compared to the previous week, and Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford saw him up close.

Dodd recorded his first career sack in Sunday's 16-15 win over the Lions, and he was also credited with a quarterback hit and six tackles.

It was a confidence booster for the second-round pick from Clemson, who missed all of training camp and two preseason games while recovering from foot surgery.

"It felt good,'' said Dodd, who played 43 snaps against the Lions after playing just 13 snaps in Week One against the Vikings. "I felt comfortable, same as college football. Just the personnel is different – bigger, faster and stronger. But I held my own. I think I did pretty good."

Dodd started in place of linebacker Derrick Morgan, who missed Sunday's game with a hamstring injury. Dodd recorded 12 sacks in his final season at Clemson.

"He did a real nice job stepping in for (Derrick),'' defensive lineman Karl Klug said of Dodd. "As we all saw he made some plays for us. He's a big kid, and he's long. He has real good tools and he knows how to use them.''

Dodd and Klug provided two of the team's four sacks against the Lions. Linebacker Brian Orakpo provided two sacks as well.

Titans coach Mike Mularkey was pleased with the pressure. In Week One, the Titans didn't record a sack against the Vikings.

"That's two games that they have come after the quarterback relentlessly,'' Mularkey said. "We didn't get any (sacks) the first game. They were throwing a little bit more down the field this game than last week and our guys didn't get frustrated and kept coming. I mean, it was relentless. Even on that last drive, they were teeing off."

Dodd credited Titans linebacker coach Lou Spanos for doing a good job of keeping him fresh by rotating other players into action. Conditioning was an issue for Dodd as he worked his way back from the injury. Dodd was flagged twice for illegal use of the hands against the Lions, so keeping his hands low and out of the face of offensive linemen will be a point of emphasis moving forward.

Linebacker David Bass played 37 snaps for the Titans on Sunday, and rookie Aaron Wallace played 16 snaps. Orakpo played 62 snaps for the Titans.

"(To contribute), it made me feel welcome, for my teammates to embrace me,'' Dodd said. "I am here to contribute – that's what they drafted me for."

The Titans select Clemson OLB Kevin Dodd in the second round (33rd overall) of the 2016 NFL Draft.

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