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Notebook: Titans Increase Intensity at OTA

Posted May 29, 2013

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Just when new faces were becoming familiar, the Titans hit the field in helmets for the first time in 2013 on Wednesday.

Offensive and defensive players were able to line up against each other in team drills for the first time as the Titans held the first of their 10 organized team activity practices. The second and third OTAs are scheduled for Thursday and Friday.

Senior defensive assistant Gregg Williams instructs Tim Shaw, from left, Moise Fokou and Akeem Ayers during Tennessee's first organized team activity practice. Click here for a slideshow.

“We had a lot of new guys on both sides of the ball, and to see everybody together and see us really fit in the new things we brought as a team, was great,” linebacker Akeem Ayers said. “Everybody had great effort. Everybody competed. The main thing we wanted to do was start competing and making each other better. That’s the only way we’re going to become a better team. If we get to where we’re going against the best offense and they’re going against the best defense, when it comes to game day it will be easier.”

The Titans are in the sixth week of their nine-week offseason program that culminates with a mini-camp in the third week of June. Players have been able to receive on-field instruction from coaches the past three weeks in drills and go through alignments and assignments.

Tempo and intensity will increase during the OTAs because the Titans want to create as much competition before they break for about four weeks.

Ayers said the installations helped with the transition, but he expects there will be some mistakes during this part of the program. He said the goal is to work through those with unquestionable effort.  

“We just really want to come out here and just give it our all every snap,” Ayers said. “You’ve got to give effort and go hard. That’s what we’re looking for. We don’t want guys loafing. If we make mistakes, we’ll fix them later. We’d rather have you make a mistake going fast and giving all your effort and we can fix the mistakes later, but the attitude and effort is on us.”

Defensive lineman Karl Klug said he welcomed the entry to the next phase of the program.

“It was good because the last five weeks we were just doing walk-through, and you can only learn so much from that,” Klug said. “Once you get helmets on and start getting live reps for the most part, I feel like you can learn more from watching film.”

WARMACK WELCOMES NEXT LEARNING OPPORTUNITY: First-round pick Chance Warmack’s first word to describe his first OTA was “fast.”

“Before you put your hand down, you’ve already got to know what you’ve got to do or you’re going to be a step behind. You’ve just got to be on it all the time, every play,” Warmack said. “I think from a physical aspect, you’ve just got to get mentally prepared for the speed of the game.

“You’ve got to keep doing reps over and over again and watch the veterans do it and learn from them and watch how they step and copy their movements — just look at the greats and copy off them,” Warmack continued. “I’m already looking at how they block and make calls and I’m trying to imitate those guys. You can’t get any worse on the first day. You can only get better.”

Warmack said he wanted to do his best each play and will take advantage of the learning opportunities that come with someone on defense doing better than him on a play.

“Honestly I had the mindset of doing the best I can. I knew it wasn’t going to be, ‘I beat everybody’ type of deal,” Warmack said. “I lost all my one-on-one protections when it was man-on-man, so I’ll learn from that and watch film on that and perfect my technique and get better. If you get beat, and you’re not asking questions on how you got beat and you’re not trying to make adjustments, then you’re not trying to get better so I’m always going to ask questions and try and step up if I’m struggling on something and get better from there.”

ROOKIE CONTRACTS: The Titans on Wednesday announced they have agreed to terms with four draft picks.

Fourth-round center Brian Schwenke, fifth-round defensive end Lavar Edwards, sixth-round cornerback Khalid Wooten and seventh-round safety Daimion Stafford signed their contracts with the team. Each player was drafted by Tennessee on April 27, the third and final day of the 2013 NFL Draft.

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