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Mouton in the mix on kicks


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POSTED: Tuesday, August 04, 2009

NASHVILLE, Tenn. » Wanted: A fast, surehanded player needed to follow blocks and pick up yards returning kickoffs and punts. Ability to score touchdowns a plus.

That's one job the Tennessee Titans are looking to fill at this training camp after leading the NFL in kickoff-return average in 2008. They did that thanks to Chris Carr, who also handled all but 2 punt returns but signed with Detroit this offseason.

Now the Titans need a replacement for one of the very few holes they have on a team that went 13-3.

Luckily, they have a handful of players in camp who have returned kicks and punts here or back in college. The ability to also play another position will be very key.

The Titans tried to address the hole in free agency by signing Mark Jones, who was a returner with Carolina a year ago. He ranked third in the NFC, averaging 11.4 yards per punt return, and was 11th on kickoffs with 24 yards per return.

But Jones has been hampered by a tight hamstring, which could open the door to others.

One of those getting a look is rookie cornerback Ryan Mouton.

Mouton, the third-round pick out of Hawaii, has been returning kicks since high school and had two returns for touchdowns at UH, where he ranked fifth in the nation with 29.6 yards on kickoff returns as a junior. He got to catch kicks in a team drill Sunday, along with several other candidates.

Special teams coach Alan Lowry said Mouton “;showed pretty good instincts, made some good cuts, showed some speed.”;

Mouton is eager to do whatever is necessary.

“;It'd be very nice to come in and contribute and try to keep that high level where it was. Chris Carr did a great job. Now they need somebody to step in,”; Mouton said. “;A lot of guys back there have potential to do it. Whoever gets the job, I think they'll do a great job at it.”;