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McCarthy Poised to Move into Starting Role in 2012

Posted by Gary Glenn on March 1, 2012 – 4:46 pm

The success of Tennessee’s 2011 draft class is well documented, and no rookie shined more last season than fourth-round draft pick Colin McCarthy.

After receiving considerable playing time while filling in for injured starter Barrett Rudd down the stretch, McCarthy appears poised to take over the starting middle linebacker job for the Titans heading into the 2012 season.

“We thought he came on in a big way last year,” head coach Mike Munchak told reporters at last week’s NFL scouting combine.

As a rookie, McCarthy tallied 76 tackles, a team-leading eight tackles for loss, one quarterback pressure, one interception, three passes defensed, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries in just 13 games (seven starts).

Not bad for a player who was initially projected to primarily help out on special teams his first season.

“When he came in we thought he would be more of a special teamer for sure and maybe help us with some depth at the inside positions — at the “Will” and the “Mike” linebacker — but we had some injuries and he came in and played very well,” Munchak said. “You saw he made plays. He found a way to knock the ball loose, create some fumbles and make some interceptions. He took control and didn’t act like a rookie out there.”

That was never more evident than in Week 13 at Buffalo when McCarthy notched 11 tackles, two fumble recoveries, a forced fumble and a pass defensed in a 23-17 victory. He was named both the AFC Defensive Player of the Week and NFL Rookie of the Week for his performance.

“There’s always room to improve,” McCarthy said. “I tried to take advantage of the opportunities I had to make plays. As a middle linebacker, you’ve got to get everybody lined up, you’ve got to make the calls and I tried to do that this year.”

With Ruud set to become a free agent, Munchak seems confident in the abilities of his second-year linebacker.

“He has some learning to do – he’s a young man – but we’re excited about his progression, the way he finished the season and the energy he brings to the defense,” Munchak said. “Everything is a plus with him. He is the kind of player you love to have on your football team, and we’re excited about what he’s going to be able to do in the future.”

Even Munchak was surprised by how much McCarthy was able to stay on the field. But the more he and defensive coordinator Jerry Gray saw McCarthy produce, the more comfortable they felt having him on the field for all three downs.

“He runs the nickel defense very well and we used him in that role,” Munchak said. “You never know how a young rookie is going to respond, but his first start was in Carolina and he came in and did a great job for us on the road getting us in position. I think it was probably one of the best defensive games we played all year against a very explosive offense, and Colin handled it very well.”

McCarthy said he’s looking forward to building off his rookie campaign, both personally and as a team.

“I just need to continue to work on everything — studying the playbook, studying offenses and defenses,” he said. “I still have a lot to prove. Every week you have to prove yourself.”

And he’ll do so on a team he believes is on the rise under Munchak.

“The attitude coach Munchak brings to the players, you see results. You see guys working, guys pushing each other throughout the locker room it gets exciting,” McCarthy said. “9-7 was a good start for our first year, but we want to improve on that next season.”


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Posted in titansonline.com Blog | 13 Comments »


13 Responses to “McCarthy Poised to Move into Starting Role in 2012”

  1. By THESEED on Mar 1, 2012 | Reply

    I love this kids game! I hope we see him for a long time!

  2. By EBTITAN on Mar 1, 2012 | Reply

    FOR SURE HE MADE IT EXCITNG.TITANS DEFENSE WILL BE SO MUCH BETTER WITH HIM & THE OTHERS WE ALREADY HAVE IN PLACE. A YEAR UNDER JERRY WITH A FULL OFF SEASON AND SOON SOME NEW ADDITIONS.CAN’T WAIT TIL F/A STARTS & DRAFT.

  3. By kenny on Mar 1, 2012 | Reply

    yeah he really surprised me. he makes our defense better n like ebtitan said with a full offseason he can only get better

  4. By Steven Crosio on Mar 2, 2012 | Reply

    McCarthy will do better on his 2nd year and Titans will move on to the playoffs when they face off against one of their toughest schedules ever.

  5. By feroo on Mar 2, 2012 | Reply

    la tendencia en nuestra division es corredores fuertes y elusivos,hemos perdido potencia debido a la baja de chris jhonson, no tenemos profundos altos,son buenos pero ante receptores altos y buenos nos vemos mal,espero que hagan algo en estas lineas,gracias

  6. By taylor on Mar 2, 2012 | Reply

    Im a Miami Hurricane fan as well as titans and he will assume the starting role he is a smart player

  7. By Angel on Mar 3, 2012 | Reply

    This Dude is going to be something, he plays football as it should be.

  8. By layne28 on Mar 4, 2012 | Reply

    No Doubt he is the starter. He played like a vet from the first play hardly any mistakes. Get stronger at ROLB maybe trade rudd for a draft pick if we find a team with the need. SIGN FINNEGAN BACK!!!

  9. By aguilard on Mar 4, 2012 | Reply

    He has showed us that he will be a great LB for years to come and I am glad he is on the titans.GO TITANS!!

  10. By joe on Mar 5, 2012 | Reply

    YESSS need finn back, love our 2 DTs Klug and casey, kenny is a monster if hes healthy we could have easily made playoffs, atv and mccourty r really good, morgan is turning around, McCarthy is just an animal and in not afraid of anyone no matter their size. another key player is cookie we should have a great 2012 SEASAONN

  11. By fraklinpjr on Mar 7, 2012 | Reply

    now lets see if ayers can step up cuz he clearly wasnt the better of r LB’s drafted in 11′ even thou he got a starting role a had little impact..tiem4 him 2 step up er step down

  12. By addicted2football on Mar 21, 2012 | Reply

    I have faith in Ayers, he was thrown into the starting role from day 1 with no offseason because of the lockout, McCarthy outshined him, but he did at least have a little time to adjust to the NFL before he took over for Ruud.

  13. By addicted2football on Mar 21, 2012 | Reply

    BTW – I’m still stoked to see McCarthy as our full time starter at MLB, the guy plays like a man possessed!!!

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