NASHVILLE, Tenn. — With the Titans opening organized team activity practices this week, the underlying theme was to look but don’t tackle.
Coaches wanted to use the 10 OTA practices over a three-week span to challenge players and build for a mandatory minicamp June 17-19 that precedes a break until training camp opens in late July.
Players are in helmets and shorts during the OTA practices, so contact is not intended. Both sides, however, said they are benefiting from the on-field looks they are receiving from the offense and defense.
The Titans have new offensive and defensive systems, but the goals remain the same. For the offense: it’s to move the ball and score points, and for the defense: it’s to stop both.
“It’s going to keep coming at us and as long as we can keep taking it, I think the coaches are going to keep throwing it at us,” Walker said. “I’m picking up it pretty well. I actually messed up one play (on Tuesday). That’s good. That is very good, so I’m excited about that.”
“We’re putting in a lot, but our job is to stop those 84 plays,” Pollard said. “We are doing a great job as far as competing against each other. We can’t do anything stupid because they are our teammates, but this time right now is for us to be able to understand the shifts, the motions, the different things we’re going to see during the year and I think we have done an excellent job because to go from a 4-3 to a 3-4 you have pretty much the same guys there, (but) now you’re moving them, you’re standing some guys up, you’re doing different things.
“I think it’s going to be a comfortable collaboration between the both of us to find something that works for everybody,” Locker said.
Defenders aren’t the only ones getting multiple looks to process. Locker said defensive coordinator Ray Horton’s system is challenging the offense, and the variations they are showing should help Tennessee in 2014.
“I think one advantage of going against a defense like this throughout OTAs, minicamp and then the fall camp is you’re going to see almost every look you’ll see during the season,” Locker said. “It gives you an opportunity to see it, talk about it, watch it in the film room and figure out the best ways for us to kind of counter it, whether it be an audible play call or protection call, so you get an opportunity to run the mental gymnastics, and then doing it on the field in these settings, Sundays are not the first time you’ve done it. Hopefully that’s an advantage for us.”