TE Anthony Firkser Emerging in the Titans Offense in More Ways Than One


NASHVILLE – Tight end Anthony Firkser flew under the radar at the start of this Titans season.

A knee injury was to blame early – it kept him out of uniform for most of September. When he returned, his impact was minimal on the stat sheet as he worked to find a consistent role.

But Firkser, in his fourth season with the team, kept working.

And now, at just the right time, Firkser has emerged to be a key part of the offense once again.

Those around Firkser never forgot about him.

"I love Firk," Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill said. "He has done a lot for us this year. (He) maybe hasn't gotten the credit he deserves. He has definitely grown over the last few weeks. We were able to get him out a little bit this past game and he made some huge plays for us over the middle. Tough catches through contact and held onto the football for us, making big plays. You combine that with what he is doing for us on third down, being aggressive helping the tackles out, and then being available to help move the chains underneath. He has done a lot of big things for us looking forward for it to continue."

Titans Coach Mike Vrabel gave Firkser props after his four-catch, 56-yard game in the team's win against the Texans, when he hauled in a five-yard touchdown pass and also made a key 24-yard grab.

But not just because of his pass-catching ability.

"I think Anthony is playing with more confidence," Vrabel said. "I think he has done a better job chipping when we have asked him to chip, and I think that has given him a lot of confidence, just for him to be able to start that. I felt like that really improved in the 49ers game, and then when we have asked him to go out on routes, he has gotten into routes quicker. He had some really nice plays (vs the Texans). I think the confidence level has really improved there."

After making just 14 catches in the team's first 10 games, Firkser has 20 catches in the past seven games, including seven in the past two contests. Firkser has at least three catches in four of the past seven games, with a pair of four-catch games and the five-catch performance vs the Texans. He was held to just one catch in each of the five games before his recent hot streak.

On the season, Firkser is third on the team with 34 catches for 291 yards and two touchdowns, with both scores coming in the past week.

"I think it's a lot of things," Firkser said of his emergence in the passing game. "A couple of weeks prior, A.J. (Brown) and other guys were stepping up, so I think they had to key them, and it left me open in spots and Ryan did a great job of finding guys that were open."

Firkser said he knew he had to step up more in the blocking game when the team lost tight end MyCole Pruitt for the season. In recent weeks, he was asked to do more as a blocker than he'd done previously.

A Harvard grad who caught a career-high 39 passes for 387 yards and a touchdown last year, Firkser said he's willing to do whatever is asked of him by offensive coordinator Todd Downing in an offense with plenty of talent.

During the team's postseason run in 2019, Firkser caught a pair of touchdowns.

"I am ready to do whatever role it is for the team, whether it I chipping (as a blocker), or helping the line out to helping give Ryan a better pocket to find other guys," Firkser said. "If we are winning games, that is the most important thing.

"(Having so many weapons), that's big. Todd has done a great job (of getting a lot of players involved) and Ryan has done a great job with that, spreading the ball around and finding guys who are open and no let the defense key one guy. I just want to do whatever I can to help us win games."

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