Nate Washington has been around long enough that he has learned from a lot of different position coaches.
He also has learned a lot about coaches. And as far as he’s concerned he’s never had it so good.
“Some guys are emotional coaches, meaning they’re pushing you to go out and perform off the emotion,” Washington said Thursday. “Some guys are technicians, they can look at your routes and tell you what you’re doing wrong or why you’re not catching the ball right. Some guys are just there, honestly.
“… I think [Shawn Jefferson] has definitely been my best position coach here in my career.”
This will be his second season with Jefferson, who had a 13-year NFL career of his own as a wide receiver. For Washington, that’s as long as any of his player-position coach relationships have lasted.
From the time he entered the league as an undrafted free agent in 2005, he has changed position coaches every third season. He had two in his four seasons with Pittsburgh and now is on his third in his sixth season with the Titans.
• Bruce Arians (2005-06)
• Randy Fitchner (2007-08)
• Fred Graves (2009-10)
• Dave Ragone (2011-12)
• Shawn Jefferson (2013-14)
Of the first four, only Graves is currently a wide receivers coach in the NFL. He is with San Diego. Arians is how head coach of the Arizona Cardinals and Fitchner is quarterbacks coach with the Steelers. Ragone, fired after last season, is currently out of the league.
All of them, though, contributed something Washington, whose current streak of 128 consecutive games is the longest of any NFL wide receiver. Arizona’s Larry Fitzgerald is second with 100 straight games played.
None, Washington said, has done as much for him at once as Jefferson has.
“He can be the guy that you can talk to about things besides football,” Washington said. “He definitely lets you know why you’re maybe not getting in and out of your breaks like you’re supposed to. And he’s definitely going to push you emotionally.
“… Just to give all three of those things to the table is definitely going to help me out.”
Imagine if they actually stick together for a third season or beyond.