For the first time since 2009, the Tennessee Titans will have a starting bettor who isn’t named Brett Kern — and his name is Ryan Stonehouse.
An undrafted free agent from Tennessee in 2022, Stonehouse got the role after a very impressive training camp and preseason that saw him flash his monster leg, as well as the touch needed to pin opponents deep.
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The fact that the Titans are parting ways with their longtime punter says a lot about Stonehouse’s performance. It also didn’t help that Kern had a few consecutive seasons that also included injuries.
“It was exciting,” Stonehouse said of her competition with Kern, according to Titans Jim Wyatt Online. “I felt like it was a great opportunity that I worked hard for and felt like I deserved it.”
Although they beat Kern for the starting job, the two have maintained their relationship, and Stonehouse is taking what he learned from the veteran and trying to incorporate it into his own game.
“I learned a lot [from Kern] honestly,” Stonehouse said. “Most of the things I learned from Brett was about the way he carried himself. I have a lot of respect for Brett and what he did and just seeing how he handled his training routine and how he practiced the outfit and just a few little details, and how he carried himself, those are the things that I took mental notes of and picked up and hope to have in my game.”
“He wished me luck,” Stonehouse added. “He said to me: Congratulations. We also talked the other day. I told him in the future: I hope it’s a great relationship that we have. I learned a lot from Brett and have the greatest respect for him.
As Stonehouse enters the 2022 campaign as a starter, the Titans are apparently keeping Kern in their back pocket just in case. Kern’s father, Cal, said the team wanted the 36-year-old to stay ready just in case.
It’s not exactly a great show of confidence for Stonehouse, but it’s a smart move for the Titans, with the jury still out on how the rookie punter will fare under the brighter lights of the regular season.