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Gregg Williams' Key to Corrections: 'Don't Make Things Personal'

Posted Aug 23, 2013

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Titans expected to have corrections, especially with tackling techniques, after preseason games.

The reduction in the amount of physical contact and tackling during the offseason and training camp limits opportunities for defenders to stay sharp with their tackling. A significant element of preseason games is the return of full-contact football, and defenders are valuing the reps that allow them to refine technical aspects.

Preseason games are offering the Titans necessary opportunities to work on tackling. Senior defensive assistant Gregg Williams, below, said this week that the key to correcting issues is to not make things personal and players are responding well to the suggested fixes.

Coaches and players reviewed the film from Tennessee’s game at Cincinnati earlier this week to make improvements for when the Titans host the Falcons at 7 p.m. Saturday at LP Field in the third preseason game for both teams.

“I know most teams probably have this problem,” Titans coach Mike Munchak said. “As you watch the tape you’ll see a lot of teams that we play trying to tackle us and struggle in the two games we’ve played. Those things hurt you and they don’t allow that in practice, that’s why these games are important and we need to improve in that area for sure.”

There likely will be instances this season — after wins or losses — that also require fixes, so the attitude that players and coaches take into the film room is important.

Titans senior defensive assistant Gregg Williams said the sessions can be helpful as long as “you don’t make things personal.”

“It’s the act or the technique. It has nothing to do with the player. If the player makes it personal, you make it personal,” Williams said. “If players don’t make it personal, coaches don’t make it personal, so I don’t coach in that personal thing, but we as coaches have to affect change, and if the same mistake is over and over and over again, sometimes you have to shock them, you have to shock the consciousness and shock their attention.

“They just want to be good,” Williams said. “They want to correct the problem too and we have to affect change. Sometimes you have to be vocal, but it’s the technique or the act, not the person. It has nothing to do with the person.”

Alterraun Verner, who is competing for the starting job at right cornerback, said players are holding each other accountable without pointing fingers.  

“We were highly critical where we were keeping people accountable,” Verner said. “We were saying, ‘OK, this isn’t going to be acceptable.’ When this happens, we can’t have that happen.

“We expect you to be here and that’s how this defense has got to run and that’s how we’re going to be able to make plays,” Verner continued. “It was a lot of simple things, where if we just had one adjustment, things would have been so much clearer on game day. That’s the beauty of it being the preseason. We can learn from those mistakes so we don’t carry it over, but we still need to address it as soon as possible.”

Derrick Morgan, Lavar Edwards and Michael Griffin each talked this week about the importance of fixing little kinks before they become big issues. Verner, who was self-critical of a tackle he thought he should have made against Cincinnati, said players are holding each other accountable without pointing fingers.  

“It’s a very open forum. Nobody’s going to get sensitive or think that somebody is beating up on them,” Verner said. “We’re here to get better as a team because none of us want to be 6-10 again. We don’t want to be 9-7 again and be on the cusp of making the playoffs. We want to be aggressive and be the top dogs, the top contenders from the get-go. With that understanding, we know we need this. We need to be critical of ourselves so we can improve and get better each week.”

Williams plans on continuing to coach players hard in his delivery of Munchak’s message because he thinks players understand the intention is to make them better and believes they are responding well.

“They understand how much I care about them, and I treat them like my own children. I treat my children tough too,” Williams said. “We have a lot of great fellowship outside the field, too. Great players want to be taught, motivated and inspired. They want to be as good as they can be, and when you as a coach can provide those things for them, they don’t care how the message comes across, and the message comes from Mike Munchak, and we all pass that down.”

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