Are big things in store for Justin Gage in 2009?

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The Tennessee Titans have made their share of moves at the wide receiver position this offseason.

Only days after the opening of unrestricted free agency’s floodgates, the Titans reeled in speedy WR Nate Washington. On the first day of the NFL Draft, Jeff Fisher and crew decided to do the unthinkable: they uncharacteristically selected a WR in the first round (Kenny Britt) for the first time since switching their nickname from the Oilers to the Titans.

Lost amid the attention devoted towards the acquisitions of Washington and Britt is the plight of the team’s incumbent #1 WR: Justin Gage.

Despite the newcomers stealing his thunder, I’m expecting big things from Gage in 2009.

Signed off of Chicago’s scrap heap as a free agent in 2007, Gage surprisingly emerged as a factor in the Titans’ passing game, making 55 grabs for 750 yards and 2 scores in his first season wearing the two-tone blue.

In 2008, Gage’s season got off to a slow start. As a result of injuries and inconsistency, Gage only snagged a measly 17 catches through Week 10. During that timeframe, I authored a piece that pondered replacing Gage for the likes of Brandon Jones or rookie Lavelle Hawkins in the Titans’ starting lineup.

Thankfully, the team didn’t heed my advice because for the remainder of the season, Gage re-emerged as a significant part of the passing game.

In Week 11 against Jacksonville, Gage’s 4 catches for 147 yards and two scores played a key role in the Titans’ victory over their bitter AFC South rival. He also stepped up in the Titans’ AFC homefield advantage-clinching victory over the Steelers, catching 5 balls for 104 yards and a score.

During the team’s bitter playoff loss to the hated Ravens, 12-Gage had perhaps his best performance of the year. Attempting to pick up some of the offensive slack due to Chris Johnson’s game-ending injury, Gage stepped up with a 10-catch, 135-yard performance.

Despite the majority of the offseason attention focused upon the speed of Nate Washington or the work ethic and potential of rookie Kenny Britt, I’m just as excited about what Gage is going to bring to the table in 2009.

What are your expectations for Justin Gage this season? Feel free to chime in with your thoughts, guys.    

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One Response to “Are big things in store for Justin Gage in 2009?”

  1. Dave Says:

    I think Justin is primed to have a great year. Now that there are some other guys to be “afraid” of, Mr. Gage should be open quite a bit more.
    On another note, I miss the days when receivers wore numbers in the 80’s. I don’t really like them to be wearing QB/Kicker numbers. I get the “joke” of 12 Gage, but I still don’t like it.

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