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Notebook: Munchak Pleased with Attendance, Attitude During Titans OTAs

Posted May 31, 2013

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — It’s early — with just three of 10 organized team activity practices in the books — but Mike Munchak said he’s been pleased by attendance and attitude after six weeks of the Titans’ voluntary offseason workout program.

The Titans entered the third and final phase of the program that allows offensive and defensive players to line up against each other in helmets but no live contact this week.

“Players are getting used to working with each other, so I think in those three days we’ve really improved quite a bit on how to practice smart and safe but fast,” Munchak said. “Guys are getting a lot of reps and a lot of looks and that’s what it’s about.”

Kendall Wright prepares for a drill during the Titans' third organized team activity practice. Click here for a slideshow from Friday's OTA.

Players were only allowed to do conditioning drills during the first phase before coaches could join them on the field to provide instruction in drills during the second phase. Munchak said the approach players took in the first two phases showed this week.

“All three phases have been important because of all the newness with players and the system,” Munchak said. “We were able to ease into it more. When you have five weeks to start learning things and stay separate for a while you get a chance to take some baby steps and digest what we’re doing.”

Quarterback Jake Locker said he doesn’t feel like it’s a new team but has seen a new attitude “that will continue to evolve” as Tennessee moves toward its season opener at Pittsburgh on Sept. 8, which is 100 days from Friday.

“I think there’s an emphasis on tempo and effort,” Locker said. “I think that’s something that coaches are instilling in the guys and you’re seeing it be a product on the field.”

Tennessee has developed a new playbook under offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains, and Locker said he thinks players’ level of confidence is allowing them to play faster.

“I think you can see guys excelling and able to use their skills,” Locker said.

Munchak and general manager Ruston Webster placed significant emphasis on deepening the roster through free agency and the draft to bolster competition. Munchak said he thinks the offense and defense will continue to motivate each other.

“The energy level, you saw some of it today, has been really good,” Munchak said. “Guys are running on the field and hustling and supporting each other. It’s not just coaches yelling at them. They’re pushing each other.”

Second-year pro Kendall Wright, the 20th overall pick of 2012, said the offense has been pushed by the defense and wants to push back.

“It’s definitely a new attitude you can tell on both sides of the ball that it’s different,” Wright said. “The defense out here moving around, flying around, with new veterans like Bernard Pollard. As far as offense, we installed a whole new playbook and we’re picking it up pretty good and flying around so I think that’s good for the team.”

LEARN QUICKLY: Chance Warmack, who was drafted with the 10th overall pick in April after winning three titles in four seasons at Alabama, said “the speed is 20 times faster than Alabama” when asked how he was adjusting to pro football. Warmack said he’s enjoyed learning from offensive line coach Bruce Matthews and Munchak, even if a mistake prefaces the learning opportunity. He said he’s liked the approach taken by his new teammates.

“I think everybody has that same mindset that they want to get better,” Warmack said. “You know there’s a good group of guys in his locker room everybody is striving to be the best player they can be. And we’re all helping each other out no matter what the situation is and that’s the best situation that you can have for a team like that.”

O-LINE UPDATE: Three projected starters on the offensive line did not participate Friday. Guard Andy Levitre has been rehabbing a knee, right tackle David Stewart has been recovering from a broken leg and left tackle Michael Roos was among several players who experienced soreness from this week’s OTA practices and were given the day off.

Munchak said he’s been encouraged by the progress made by Levitre and Stewart and not concerned with players encountering soreness.

“(Levitre is) doing really well. He does everything but practice,” Munchak said. “He’s a guy that we assume, or we’re hoping he can probably start doing drills and stuff with us in another week, and maybe toward the end will get a chance to get on the field and do some things, but again, those guys that you know are going to be healthy — Stewart’s the same way, Stew should be available and you’ll start seeing him out here at the end of next week or the beginning of the last week (of OTAs). We have such a long way to go, and Levitre hasn’t missed a play since he’s been in the league.”

TITANS REST HUNTER: The Titans also opted to rest second-round draft pick and former Tennessee Vols receiver Justin Hunter on Friday. Munchak said the reason was that Hunter tweaked his hamstring earlier in the week, but the Titans do not think it’s anything serious.

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