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Titans count on Givens to catch on

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (June 29, 2006) -- David Givens flashes the Super Bowl rings he won with the New England Patriots as incentive for his new teammates.

The Tennessee Titans are counting on him to do much more than show and tell.

The Titans targeted Givens early in free agency in March and signed him to a five-year, $24 million deal, trying to add a quality, experienced receiver to a corps that included three rookies last season with the team in the final throes of a salary cap crunch.

"Now with David's experience, and of course some very successful seasons, he can shed a little bit of light as far as the other guys are concerned about what it takes," coach Jeff Fisher said. "Not just to get through training camp, but to get through a long haul of the season."

Drew Bennett was left as their most experienced receiver in 2005 after the Titans released Pro Bowler Derrick Mason for salary cap reasons. They picked up three more in the draft, and Tyrone Calico was slow to recover from surgery to repair his left ACL in 2004.

Bennett led the team with 58 receptions, but a trio of tight ends and a running back followed him in catches. Rookie Brandon Jones, recovering from a torn right ACL, ranked sixth with 23 catches. Givens comes in looking at himself as the No. 1 but he also sees other good receivers.

"The ball can't always go to one guy. The ball is definitely going to be spread around here. To win games, you have to be unselfish. In New England; I had 50-60 catches a year, which is great. But that's how we won games. We're going to do what it takes to win games," Givens said.

On paper, Givens' statistics aren't that different from Bennett's.

Givens has been in the NFL four seasons compared to five for Bennett. Givens, a seventh-round draft pick in 2002, has 158 career catches in the regular season with a career-high 59 last season. Bennett was a free agent who became a starter in 2003 and has 227 career catches.

Even though Bennett has some postseason experience, Givens has played in, and won, two Super Bowls. His five postseason touchdowns are tops for New England.

"He knows what it takes to practice every day to get himself ready," Fisher said.

"He's always alert. He's paying to attention to every situation, even if he's not in there. So he's certainly been a help from that standpoint. He's a little rusty himself. He missed a couple of weeks there, and he's worked backed off an ankle injury and it's good to get him back."

That ankle kept Givens out of May minicamps, but he returned for the first of the final six minicamp sessions that conclude next week.

With Steve McNair gone to Baltimore in a trade after a lengthy contract dispute, Billy Volek is the new starter at quarterback. He has developed quite a rapport with Bennett, especially in 2004 when the receiver had a career-year with 80 catches for 1,247 yards and 11 touchdowns.

Now Volek sees some good targets to work with, especially Givens.

"I think you guys remember Justin McCareins and Derrick Mason. He's just a shifty, physical wide receiver. He knows how to get open versus double coverage," Volek said.

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