Tom Gower of Total Titans discusses WR Kendall Wright:
There are a couple specific areas of Wright’s game to pay attention to in 2014. First, can Jake Locker find him downfield? As I noted in the comments section of Rivers’ column, Locker has gone just 4-for-23 when targeting Wright more than 10 yards downfield. Ryan Fitzpatrick and Matt Hasselbeck have had more success finding Wright down the field, though even so he hasn’t been the vertical seam threat we saw at Baylor and expected him to be in the NFL.
The second thing to watch for Wright is his continued work on reshaping his body. He dropped 14 pounds last offseason to get to 187, which seemed to lead to better movement on the field. He noted earlier this week (video link) the new coaching staff had asked him to drop a little additional weight to improve his speed and his endurance and ability to stay on the field. He noted he’s now at 184 pounds and his belly is gone.
The other thing to come from that interview, beyond his weight, is his role in the offense is likely to change. He noted he’s learning every wide receiver position, which is something Dowell Loggains talked about about every receiver doing last season. More importantly, though, he noted the new coaching staff (though position coach Shawn Jefferson is a holdover) is asking him to be more disciplined in his routes instead of giving him the opportunity to freelance and adjust his route like he had from the old regime last year. It’s interesting to get confirmation of that, which I wondered about at times watching them, and will be interesting to see if Wright can be as productive in a more disciplined system. I’m confident that unless he gets hurt Wright will play a lot and catch a lot of balls in 2014. I don’t know if that will end up meaning 70 catches (the low end) or over 100 (the higher end). My guess is that however many catches he ends up with he’s more likely to be closer to 12.0 yards per catch than the 15.4 in Jim Wyatt’s projections.
Wright's downfield numbers with Locker are worrisome, but with Ken Whisenhunt running the offense, we have confidence that the unit will be improved and that he'll put Locker and Wright in the best position to make plays. As for Wright's lack of involvement in the red zone, don't be surprised if Whisenhunt dials up WR screens around the 10-yard line with regularity -- he coaxed eight touchdowns out of slot receiver Eddie Royal last season.