NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Coach Ken Whisenhunt said he was pleased with the intensity he saw Monday as the Titans continued installing new elements on offense and defense when in their fourth of 10 scheduled organized team activity practices.
“It was good. I think one of the things you have to make sure they understand is we’re going to install more things,” Whisenhunt said. “That doesn’t mean you can forget about what we did last week, so the pressure is going to continue to build on them to perform as we put more and more things in, and the ones that are successful in it, they’re the ones that are going to get the opportunities.”
“Intensity has been great throughout practice,” Locker said. “That’s usually the first thing that goes. When you’re thinking a lot, things slow down, and I don’t think we’ve had that (problem) to a large extent thus far.
“We put in a lot of red zone stuff (Monday) that we haven’t had in yet,” Locker said. “That’s another thing that’s a testament to this team and how these guys are preparing daily and in the offseason. Coming in and having 20 new plays a day isn’t easy but going out and being able to execute them full-speed against a defense, it’s nice to know it means that much to your teammates and everybody is spending that much time away from this building to understand what we’re doing and what we’re trying to accomplish.”
“Nobody wants to be the guy that gets left behind, so we’re working hard and then you go home and rest a little bit and get back in the playbook, so it’s been going really well,” Mariani added.
Whisenhunt, offensive coordinator Jason Michael and defensive coordinator Ray Horton are progressing through an installation schedule designed to present players with everything the coaches want to see before the break between the minicamp and training camp, when they’ll want players to show an even better grasp of the systems.
Defensive players want to meet every challenge the offense poses and present some of its own, raising the level of competition between the sides.
“I would say this is probably the high point of intensity that we’ve had since I’ve been here with guys actually getting after it, guys wanting to win, guys wanting to compete,” said
“We’re competing all the time. We had guys making interceptions, we had guys knocking balls down,” Pollard said. “Of course the offense gets paid as well, but I think for the most part, if we do not give up the big play — if you look at any good defense, it was limited as far as the big plays they gave up during the year. We need to keep that down on the defensive side of the ball. We cannot allow balls to go over our head. If the ball gets past our front seven, we as a secondary have to tackle that, and yes, we don’t have pads on, but we’ve got to put ourselves in a position to practice it. If we’re doing these things in practice, it’s going to translate over to game time.”
“We still have a lot of work to do, but the guys are attacking this with enthusiasm, and if we keep at it the way we are and keep on the pace that we’re at, we’ll give ourselves a chance to be successful,” Wimbley said. “I just think we’ve got guys who realize we have the opportunity to do something special here and we want to take advantage of that. We don’t want to waste opportunities because you only get so many.”
HUNTER’S HOPS: Receiver
When asked about Hunter’s dunks during the game, Whisenhunt joked, “that was a 9-foot rim, at least that’s what I was told.”
Hunter said Whisenhunt told him “it was a weak dunk.” As for the joke about the height of the rim, which was a regulation 10 feet above the hardwood, the second-year receiver said, “That’s what I get all the time. That’s what I make it look like.”
The lanky Hunter (6-feet, 4-inches) turned in a vertical leap of 39.5 inches at the 2013 NFL Combine and showed he still has hops despite a conscious effort to increase his weight to 207 pounds from his 2013 low of 193.
In all seriousness, Whisenhunt said he’s “excited about Justin.”
“I think he’s been working hard, but he’s got to bring his game to a whole new level to understand what he can be,” Whisenhunt said. “That’s what’s exciting about him. He’s working hard, and hopefully he’ll continue on that track.”
“Throughout the course of the week, it’s working through some soreness and getting it warmed up in the morning and then being able to perform during practice and then having those three days on the weekends to kind of recover and let everything kind of calm down and heal up has been helpful,” Locker said. “I’ve always felt really good on Monday, and then each week progressively gets better where the soreness is less and less and it’s easier to come back the next day, so I’m excited about the progress I’ve been able to make.”
“Every day is getting better and better, and I’m just learning how to deal with it and constantly treat it to make sure it won’t be any worse, but taking it one day at a time,” Ayers said. “I’m excited to be able to hit the field and be at 100 percent and play to the best of my ability. Last year I wasn’t at my best ability. With this new defense, there’s a lot to be excited for, especially on my part.”