The countdown to kickoff continues.
The Tennessee Titans will open the 2020 regular season Sept. 14 at Denver. That is 96 days away. So, we look at how the number 96 figures into the team’s history.
It is easy to think that a guy like Kalif Raymond can’t measure up.
At 5-foot-8, 182 pounds, he is a small man playing against a bunch of big guys. He is a product of the College of Holy Cross, which is not exactly one of the country’s football factories. And he is a player who has been waived nine times by four teams, including the Titans who cut him loose twice.
The wide receiver/return man just keeps coming back, and in 2019 he made the most of the what was his best opportunity to date.
Over eight games from late October until an injury in Week 16 sidelined him, Raymond played 96 snaps on offense.
It is not a sizable number, to be sure, but he caught nine passes on 12 targets for 170 yards and a touchdown. That means the ball came his way once every eight snaps and he produced an average of 1.77 yards for each snap he was on the field. Six of his nine catches resulted in first downs.
By comparison, A.J. Brown – Tennessee’s leading receiver in 2019 – was targeted once every 8.1 snaps and averaged 1.55 receiving yards for every play he got, which was roughly eight times as many as Raymond.
“Every time you step on the field, it’s an opportunity,” Raymond said in a team-produced video late last season. “If you go in there thinking your spot is solidified, then you’re not working to get better.”
Raymond will have to prove himself all over again in training camp. He likely will battle Cameron Batson, who spent all of 2019 on injured reserve, Cody Hollister and several undrafted rookies for a roster spot.
Already, though, he has shown that he can do big things with even the smallest opportunity.