New Tennessee Titans receiver Adam Humphries may not be the biggest or fastest player on the field, but he doesn’t need to be in order to have success in the team’s offense.

The 25-year-old slot receiver is polished, and he has a deep understanding of how to consistently get open against various types of coverage in the NFL.

“I think that it’s really important at this level,” Humphries said of his understanding of the game. “Everyone’s fast, everyone’s strong, everyone can move. What separates the good from the great is understanding where to be at the right time, whether it’s man, zone, or whatever coverage they throw at you.

“Understanding the angles, where to be, the spots to be. That comes with repetition with the quarterback and an understanding that the offensive coordinator’s going to put you in the right spot.”

Last season, the Titans offense was mostly void of someone who understands the intricacies of the receiver position in the way that Humphries does. After veteran tight end Delanie Walker went down with an injury, the team was forced to rely on a very young and inexperienced group of receivers in the passing game.

By signing Humphries, the Titans have added a much-needed veteran presence to their WR room. Though he doesn’t have experience being a player that others look up to, Humphries plans to embrace the new role in Tennessee.

“This will be the first time being the veteran player in the room,” Humphries said. “That will be new to me. I’m not the most vocal player out there, but I lead by example and hopefully a lot of hard work—just grinding with those guys in the room, and we’ll create a good bond and we’ll trust each other on Sundays, and make some plays together.”

Thus far in his four-year career, Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota has not really had a consistently reliable option in the slot. In Humphries, he should be getting a security blanket in the form of an old-fashioned, “lay it on the line” option over the middle.

Humphries is proud of being labeled as that type of receiver, and he believes that his presence can take the Titans’ offense to new heights.

“It’s something I take a lot of pride in, obviously,” he said. “It’s a role that I love and that’s coveted around this league. It can help take offenses to the next level, so I take a lot of pride in that, a lot of pride in getting first downs, making clutch third-down catches, and I’m going to continue to do that.”

After verbally committing to joining the Titans on Monday, the New England Patriots made a last-ditch effort to reel Humphries in by increasing the guaranteed money in their offer to him. Nonetheless, he settled on joining Tennessee.

A major factor in Humphries decision was the comfort level he has with Titans general manager Jon Robinson, who served as the Buccaneers’ director of player personnel when Humphries was a rookie tryout.

“There was a comfort level with Jon Robinson,” Humphries said. “He was in Tampa, he was one of the guys that kind of stood on the table for me there as a rookie tryout and just supported me there. When he got [to Tennessee], they needed some help in the receiving room and hopefully, I can come in the slot and be of help, help move the chains, help win some games.”

Humphries continued to explain the impact of Robinson’s support. “It means a lot,” he said, “just a comfort level. Coming in knowing the leader of this team is a big supporter of me and knows my game, knows what I can bring to the table, it just adds a different type of comfort level for me coming in here.”

Adding Humphries filled a lot of needs for the Titans offense. The reliability he will provide to Mariota and the leadership he will provide to the Titans’ young receivers certainly has a chance to, as Humphries suggested, take the unit to another level.

Cover image: Kim Klement/USA Today

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