Will Lavelle Hawkins step his game up in 2009?

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As a rookie, Lavelle Hawkins experienced what many wide receivers go through during their first season in the league. Injuries and inconsistency was the name of Lavelle’s game in 2008, as his growing pains were mostly responsible for his measly seven receptions last year.

In 2009, with the departure of enigmatic veteran Brandon Jones, the time is now for “The Hawk” to soar to new heights and emerge as a valuable contributor in the Tennessee Titans’ passing game.

Is “The Hawk” up to the task?

During my visit to training camp last season, I was impressed with what I saw from Lavelle Hawkins. He was a guy with a colorful personality who was more than willing to mix it up with the veteran players.

In the preseason, Hawkins displayed his potential against the Oakland Raiders. In a nationally televised preseason game, “The Hawk” reeled in a 51-yard touchdown pass from Kerry Collins.

Unfortunately for the talented rookie, he later sprained his ankle in the game, and the injury eventually developed into a nagging ailment that would prevent him from contributing during the beginning of the regular season.

With his frustrating rookie experience over, Hawkins is poised to become a contributor in 2009. However, listening to the words of Mike Heimerdinger, nothing is promised to #87:

“I’m hoping that now that he’s been through the system and he knows what to do he won’t have to think – his talent comes out now. His talent never showed up last year because he was thinking about what to do, afraid to make a mistake. [I think he’s passed that], but we’ll find out in OTA’s. Hopefully his talent that we saw on tape from college comes out.”

As things currently stand, you can probably pencil in Justin Gage and Nate Washington as the team’s starters at WR. After those two is where things get a bit tricky.

Hawkins will compete with rookie Kenny Britt and veteran underachievers Paul Williams and Chris Davis for the #3 WR spot. Hawk could also face some additional competition if the team decides to reunite with former Titan Drew Bennett.

Hawk has the talent to emerge as Brandon Jones’ replacement. The question is: Will he turn potential into production in his second year?

What do you guys think? Will “The Hawk” step up in 2009? 

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7 Responses to “Will Lavelle Hawkins step his game up in 2009?”

  1. J. Mark English Says:

    Can Kerry Collins repeat the miracle of last year??
    http://www.americanlegends.blogspot.com/

  2. Morgan_Washburn Says:

    Hawkins has a good chance at pushing aside the 12 Gage and moving into one of the top two WR spots. In yesterdays NFL.com interview with Finnigan he said Hawkins is looking great and he also picked hawkins for breakout player of the year for the titans. Lets hope your both right and we could have a Fitz/Housh style combo in the future with Britt and Hawks.

  3. Faz Says:

    No Offense: But Who are Fitz & Housh? They play on different teams. Fitz – cards and Housh – Bengals/Hawks

  4. Morgan_washburn Says:

    My bad, thinking of two teams that have had two good recievers for along time. Larry Fitzgerald and Boldin for the Cards and the Houshmandzadeh, Johnson for the bengals. I was meaning to type Fitz & Boldin.
    No Offense: But obviously you knew who i was talking about, your statement Fitz – cards and Housh – Bengals shows that. Maybe if you had said What are you talking about your statement would have made more sense than mine.

  5. steve Says:

    i have to disagree with you morgan…i dont think hawk will be pushing gage aside for number 1 this season. if you look at gages stats for the number of games he played last season you will see why. he was impressive imo, and had very decent numbers for guy that only played 8 games. also, hawkins needs to learn how to run routes. although hes had trouble learning his routes he does seem to have pretty good hands. only problem is..if you dont put yourself in position to catch a ball it dont matter how good your hands are. i am cautiously optimistic about hawkins this season. i wish him the best come training camp.

  6. Drexel Perry Says:

    Thanks for commenting, guys.
    I’m also not too sure about the prospects of Hawk overtaking Gage in the starting lineup. After a slow start, Gage stepped up with some nice performances down the stretch and has established himself as the team’s #1 WR.
    As for Hawk, if he can become the team’s #3 or even #4 option, I’d be happy. I envision him as a move the chains guy, someone who can make key first down catches with the ability to occasionally beat you deep.
    Hopefully, we’ll see Hawk realize some of his potential during his sophomore campaign.

  7. Morgan_Washburn Says:

    It seems that everyone here has a higher opinion of Gage than I do. I have pitured Gage as a number 2/3 WR since he played with the Bears, and i doubt that will ever change in my eyes. He did come up big with a few good catches, but it takes at least one 1000 yard season to be a number one, unless your team has nothing better at the time like the Titans. At this time Gage is better than Hawk, but a rookie reciever almost never does well with the transition to the NFL. I’m just hoping he took everthing in last year and can come in on top. I cant say that I 100% expect him taking over, just crazy high hopes.

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