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Rookie WR/Returner Kyle Philips a Bright Spot for the Titans in Week One, Even if He Won't Admit It


NASHVILLE – Rookie Kyle Philips sat alone at his locker well after Sunday's season opening loss to the Giants.

As one reporter after another approached him, the Titans receiver/return man lamented over the things he felt he should have done better.

"I wasn't consistent, so I am a little disappointed with how I played," Philips said. "Obviously the muffed punt, and there were a couple of catches I felt like I should have had. So, not a great game, and definitely something to build on. I felt like I was a little too much up and down, and I need to be more consistent for Ryan (Tannehill) and the team. I am going to go to work next week and work on being more consistent and reliable."

Titans veteran safety Kevin Byard found Philips, and told him to keep his head up.

"Kyle, he is a competitor," Byard said. "I spoke about him during training camp – he's a really good route runner, and he showed that during the game. And obviously he flashed a little bit during the preseason with his punt return ability and he showed that in the game. So, it is good to see that translate from the preseason to the regular season.

"You know, when you are a rookie, when you mess up or muff a punt or you might screw up a route or drop a pass or something like that, you just kind of feel like it's the end of the world. But me just talking to him and letting him know: 'Hey, you did some really great things during the game, and you just have to continue to build on those things.' … At the end of the day, you don't want to look at it like the glass is half-empty. The glass is definitely half-full for Kyle Philips."

Aside from the muffed punt, which was recovered by the Giants but not cashed in for points because of Titans safety Amani Hooker's interception, Philips was one of the bright spots for the team in the opener.

Philips led the Titans with six catches for 66 yards, and he also had a 46-yard punt return that set the first scoring drive in motion. Philips also had a key 21-yard reception that put the Titans in field goal range on their final possession.

Leading up to the opener, Philips was one of the team's most consistent players in practices, including preseason work vs the Buccaneers and Cardinals.

The Titans think the UCLA product, picked in the fifth round of the NFL Draft, is going to be good all year.

"He's got a lot of trust," Titans head coach Mike Vrabel said of Philips. "You saw a great punt return, a great effort from him. A lot of great efforts from other guys out there. It wasn't perfect, because then he muffed one. Kyle is a competitor. He's got a knack for getting open. Ryan (Tannehill) was able to find him a couple of times (on Sunday)."

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