(on whether the Titans will be a playoff-caliber team)
We’re planning on it. We’ve got a lot of work here ahead of us, no doubt about that. But, it’s good to be back, it’s good to finally get started into the routine. You know, this is a transition. It’s always hardest I think. You go from being on vacation for five weeks to 12 or 14 hour days, which we started yesterday. So, it’s a good start. We were on the field this morning for a couple hours, so we got some good work in, and obviously the workout this afternoon. So, yeah, good start.
I think it’s just confidence. Like we said, it’s a total different feel for him knowing that he is the guy that the offense is tailored around. I think he’s excited about knowing exactly what he needs to do. He feels he has good control over what we’re doing, a good understanding of it. Now it’s just about coming out here against our defense and just executing. So, I think he’s going to take it day-by-day like the rest of us, like he needs to and go from there.
(on how the offensive line looks and feelings of disappointment regarding
Well, we got a couple back. We got (Andy) Levitre back for the first time in team drills. We got (David) Stewart back, same way. We limit their reps in the team periods, but they’re participating in every drill we had. They’re doing well, which is the good part. We can’t worry about who’s not here. Obviously, we want all our guys here and Chance. I’m sure he’ll be here soon, but the good thing is we got the rest of them.
(on expectations for
Well, we all know what we thought of him coming out of the draft. We moved up to get him in the second round for a reason. We think he’s a guy that can definitely help this team win football games. So, again, the good thing is he’s healthy. He ran yesterday in the sprints and all that stuff. I think his confidence is good. Now it’s a matter of him learning our offense, getting comfortable with what we’re asking him to do. We all know the talent is there. Now it needs to come out here while we’re playing.
(on whether Coach Munchak gave
I did not. He did not call for permission. I’m waiting to see how that whole thing worked out. I guess it’s taped. He’s not this week or anything. He’s healthy, so I know he survived. So, that’s a good thing. It’ll be interesting to see how it actually went.
(on if the nice weather is a sign of good things to come)
I think so. I think we’ll have plenty of heat. You take advantage of the start while you can. I mean this morning when I was up at 5:30 it felt like it was 60 or in the 50s. So, it’s supposed to be a decent week like that. So, it’s fine. We’re going to have plenty of hot days. We already had them back in June when we were here. So, that shouldn’t be a problem. But, it was good. It was a good way to get started. It’s not raining. You always need to come out here and do all the work.
(on whether guys came back to camp in good shape)
Yeah, they did. You really don’t have that problem. Like the beginning, it goes back in the day years ago when guys came to camp to get in shape. I think that these guys are in pretty good shape year round pretty much, but nobody had any problems I guess. We bring them back yesterday, we had a full day of meetings yesterday, a full day of conditioning tests, lifting tests. So, you can’t hide what you’ve done or haven’t done. I know I enjoyed that as a player because I kind of want to see who worked hard and who didn’t as a player, too. I want to see how important it is to my teammates. What do they do the last five weeks when I didn’t have a coach telling them what to do or you giving them an itinerary? I think that’s part of a team starting to trust each other when they come back here and do some of these tests and see what guys got stronger, what guys are in good shape. It must be important to everyone, not just me. So, I think that’s an encouraging thing we saw yesterday. You got to get better on a daily basis.
I think he is. I mean he looked good today. I mean, I think his confidence is back in a big way. I think he feels very comfortable physically after having a very frustrating year for him last year. You’re a young player. Remember, he was second year player. He was a captain. He was going to have high expectations. So, he gets hurt in the opener then he gets a concussion toward the middle of the season and never really was himself. So, I think his confidence is back. I think we’ll get to see that. He’s a guy as we know from the time he has played that he’s a guy who makes plays it seems. We’re excited. We’re going to have some great competition there. And, again, you can play more than three or four linebackers at a time in pads. So, we’re excited about it, and we’ll see how it works out. But, again, he’s definitely in the plans.
(on who would start right out of the gate)
I think it’s kind of where we left off. During camp if a guy was injured and hadn’t played much we kind of…like at the center spot I think this morning Fernando (Velasco) went with the first group. This afternoon, (Robert) Turner went with the first group. We’re just going to kind of mix guys like that on the offensive line. Same thing at corner and at some of those positions depending on what packages we’re calling. Like we’ve told them from the beginning, we’ve said before you guys are probably tired of hearing. It’s not going to make a lot of a difference now. There’s no doubt that we have to make decisions. It’s easy in OTAs to put it off for a couple months. We know that we have to start narrowing things down because we want to get the guys together that can play best together. That’s our job as coaches to do that as quickly as we can.
(on the possibility of the Aaron Hernandez story being used in camp as teaching moment)
No. We didn’t talk about that. I think that was well publicized. We talk about just things in general before they went away, like all teams do. The league sends people around to talk about the period of time when things seem to go sideways with players having so much time free. Luckily our guys handle themselves well as most guys in the NFL do. You know, things happen sometimes. Last year we had some issues. But no, I think our guys handle themselves well and you hope they learn from others mistakes and other trials that guys go through. You just take it at that. I think nothing really needs to be said though.
(on NFL looking at players tattoos’ for gang identification purposes)
Yeah, I hadn’t heard anything about that. I’m not sure in what capacity they’d want to do that. But, I have no comment on that.
I think you’ll see both. I think you want to see, again. He did good enough to where you want to…kind of gives you the ‘what ifs’. So yeah, I think we want to give him a chance to start, no doubt about that. We want to give him a chance to keep his job. We’re not just going to do that, but I think he’ll get plenty of opportunities at corner. Some packages maybe he’ll move inside or move into another spot. You need to be able to do that with versatility for a lot of reasons. Again, day one, we’ll see. Things change fast because of injury, things change fast for a lot of reasons. Right now we don’t have any, so let’s just get started and see how this thing shakes out. We haven’t been in pads yet. It’s like an OTA practice today, other than the fact we’ve had two of them and we’re here all day. I mean, the hours are different, but the work, what we can do to this point is the same. So we have to wait until we get rolling and see really where these guys are.
He’s just getting ready. I think he’s a guy that mentally prepares for everything he is going to do. He knows that if you wear pants you have to wear all the pads in your pants this year. I don’t know when the last time the league players have done that, but that’s the new rule. So, I think he’s taking a jump start on it with the thigh pad/knee pad to see what it feels like in his pants. We still have another day before we put pants on, or pads on. He’s just getting a head start. I kind of think that’s how he rolls.
(on the chance of wearing pads on Saturday)
Saturday is the first time we can start wearing shoulder pads. I think Saturday in the afternoon we have them wearing shoulder pads and then we’re in full pads next time, on Sunday.
(on how different Munchak feels coming into camp his third year as Head Coach)
For me, yes. I feel very confident in a lot of things we’re doing. First year was the first year, but it was the lockout, that year it was hard to evaluate at all. Last year, again, we had a lot of different type of things going on. So no, this year, I think, it’s all about football, it’s all about excitement, all about, I think, what we think we’re capable of doing. I feel like coaching more has helped me a lot to be a lot more involved and hands on. It’s helped me a lot in that way, mentally also. So, I’m excited. We have a long way to go but off to a good start.
(on the evaluation of players during camp)
The thing with that is having as much time as we do, you know, having three weeks or so before we have to make those decisions. That’s something we don’t talk about much now. We just talk about our depth and getting through camp and that kind of thing and rotations. But, you already have a feel like any year, you have a good idea, you have 90 guys here. There may be a surprise or two, obviously if guys hold up, you sit there and you have question marks about a handful of guys and you say ‘let’s see how they rise to the occasion, let’s see how they handle adversity, let’s see how they handle a couple NFL games.’ So, you let it play out, and all of sudden special teams is, we always talk, becomes a huge factor. Guys maybe, especially linebackers, DBs, that maybe aren’t quite clicking at their position. All of a sudden we have a game against the Redskins and Minnesota and all of a sudden these guys are tearing it up on special teams and all of sudden it’s a whole different story. So, I think you stay open because anything is possible with these guys and knowing we have time to make those decisions.
I like him. He’s a tough kid. He’s a good looking kid. He came in and jumped right into the tests yesterday and ran well. He’s picking up the offense pretty well. He’s a pro. He’s a good-sized kid. We wanted some competition again for that third spot and we played against him last year and he ran pretty well against us. Again, we’ll see. I’m just getting to know him.
(on splitting reps between Jake Locker and
Jake and Ryan are going to be taking almost all of them. Rusty is hardly getting any reps as it is. He got a couple today, OTAs, not much at all. I think, obviously, a lot of the share is going to those two. So, really, the fourth spot wasn’t going be fair to whoever that guy was there because there’s not going to be much action there.
(on the depth at free safety with
The thing is you’re always looking but there’s nobody really that makes sense to add at this point. Are we going to keep looking? Definitely; because things always change during camp. As you get two-three weeks out you might not get to find anyone who’s not working right now. So, you kind of have to wait and see what happens there and as far as Johnson goes, I mean it’s hard to tell. This has been very bad luck for him as far as trying to stay healthy. So, we’re just kind of playing the waiting game with him.