LEBANON, Tenn. — Titans senior defensive assistant Gregg Williams said during an appreciation dinner for season ticket holders Monday that he and defensive coordinator Jerry Gray are working on elements that will surprise offenses moments before cornerback
|"Voice of the Titans" Mike Keith discusses defense with cornerback Jason McCourty and senior assistant Gregg Williams during a season ticket holder appreciation dinner. Click here for a slideshow.|
Williams said he wanted the opportunity to draft McCourty in 2009 when the Titans found him in the sixth round. Williams said the fifth-year pro, who was a defensive captain last season, has made a great impression on him so far and will be important to Tennessee’s defensive scheme.
“I can’t wait to coach this young man,” Williams said. “This guy is bright eyes in the meeting room. It doesn’t take me long to figure out who gets it and who doesn’t get it. He wants to be really good, and if he wants to be really good, I have an obligation to make sure he has every opportunity to be as good as he wants to be.”
Williams said he thinks it’s important to build a defense with cornerbacks because they can enable teammates to do more on each play. The Titans have discussed the desire to play more “press” man coverage this season and drafted cornerbacks
“When we have corners that can play like (McCourty), now watch how crazy we play everywhere else,” Williams said. “The way that he plays the position gives us a chance to trick (the opponent) or hide someone else that’s not as good as him.”
McCourty was wrapping up a full day on the Academy Sports + Outdoors Caravan by stopping at the campus of Cumberland University and received a robust ovation from the crowd. It was the fifth of five appreciation events in eight days that the Titans offered season ticket holders to give them unprecedented info to offseason decisions made by the organization.
General manager Ruston Webster was the guest at a breakfast in Williamson County and a dinner in Murfreesboro, and coach Mike Munchak was the guest at a lunch in Hendersonville on April 29. Gray and offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains were guests at a dinner the next night in Clarksville. "Voice of the Titans" Mike Keith led each of the discussions.
McCourty said Williams has also made a quick impression on Titans defenders who look forward to having a better season in 2013.
“Last year we didn’t play so well on defense, and we look at this year as a totally new opportunity,” McCourty said. “When we met Coach Williams the first day, we just saw the intensity that he brought to the defensive meeting room.
“It’s exciting as a player to have a coach that has those expectations that you know, every day coming to practice, you’re going to have to live up to,” McCourty said. “(Like Coach Williams has told us) most people want to be pleasers. You want to please the coaches, you want to please management, you want to please the fans that are sitting in the stadium watching us.”
Williams said those comments pleased him because it showed that McCourty has been listening in the meetings.
Williams, who is preparing for his 12th season with the Titans/Oilers franchise, said he feels like he’s come home since February when he rejoined the franchise he coached for from 1990-2000 and served as defensive coordinator those final four seasons.
Part of that feeling is his familiarity with Munchak and Titans assistants Bruce Matthews, Steve Brown, Shawn Jefferson and Gray, from previously coaching and/or working with each. Another part, Williams said, is the connection he feels to the Titans’ fan base and showed that after his talk by signing autographs, posing for pictures and exchanging laughs.
Williams said he considers Gray his brother. The two have worked nine seasons together as coaches in different capacities, and Williams said they will work well together again.
“The most fun he’s had coaching is when he’s worked with me, and, quite frankly, the most fun I’ve had coaching has been when I’ve worked with him,” Williams said.
In addition to liking the staff he’s a member of, Williams said he thinks the organization “has done a great job of attracting the right kinds of guys to be Titans” through free agency and the draft.
He said the overarching goal of the defense is to be “faster, tougher and smarter for longer than the opponent.”
“That ‘longer’ is your conditioning and what God put in your chest with your heart,” Williams said. “(Eighth-round draft pick and four-time Pro Bowl safety) Blaine Bishop wasn’t supposed to play in the National Football League. You can’t measure the size of the heart in Blaine Bishop. The reason he played angry, the reason he was tough to coach is he had to have a chip on his shoulder just to be here one more day, and he played that way. He practiced that way. That’s what we have to have.”