Rashaan Evans said that he believes his team-high eight penalties this season is a result of being a marked man due to throwing a punch at Denver’s Jake Butt in the season opener at Denver.
Evans was ejected from that contest, a 16-14 Titans win, and has also had a number of other penalties this season that have hurt the Titans – notably a hands to the face penalty that negated a third down stop against Green Bay, where the Packers went on to score a touchdown.
“To be honest with you, I really haven’t changed anything. It’s one of those situations that whenever you get in a position or situation at the beginning of the season where you punch a guy, everybody is going to be looking for you and going to be keying on you. That’s just how it is. Unfortunately, that happened and you get keyed on a lot – more differently than other guys,” Evans said.
The former first-round pick said that he won’t allow the perception of being a marked man dull his intensity for playing the game.
“At the same time, I can’t allow it to change my intensity and the way I play. I can’t let that change, because that’s what the Tennessee Titans pay me for,” he said.
Titans left tackle Taylor Lewan, who was lost to a torn ACL this season, had issues with penalties last year and seemed to draw added attention from officials with his style of play, too.
Evans said that he will try to walk the line between playing physical and violating Coach Mike Vrabel’s rule of doing “dumb (expletive) that hurts the team.”
“You’ve got to know that when that whistle blows, you’ve got to completely eliminate yourself. You’ve got to run away, or do what you have to. It all depends on the player, and at the end of the day, even with the penalties I’ve had, I’ve never allowed it to change the way I’ve played,” Evans said. “My physicality is the greatest asset I have. I don’t want to hurt the team, but at the same time, you can still hurt the team by not playing your game. It’s one of those give-and-take type of things. The No. 1 thing is to try your best not to get any fouls that hurt the team.”