Despite where they rank in the minds of national critics, Titans players have their own set of expectations heading into training camp.
Tennessee's 7-9 record from a season ago left the team with a bad taste in its mouth -- not because of the losing record -- but because of the missed opportunities that cost the franchise its first trip to the playoffs since 2008.
“We’re close,” said quarterback
Two of those games were against the division rival Indianapolis Colts. The Titans had second half leads in both contests but failed to come away with the ‘W’ on either occasion.
“To be here going on six years and not been to the playoffs is a chip on your shoulder,” said Washington. “It becomes a bigger chip when you hear a lot of the things that are being said going into this year.”
Many NFL pundits around the nation would disagree with the Titans sentiments during Friday’s media session, suggesting that franchise is still a long ways off. The Titans rank no higher than 25th in any of the power rankings for ESPN, CBS, and NFL.com. The USA Today predicts the team will go 6-10. A lot of that is noise that the players tune out, but it does add some fuel to the motivational fire.
Washington is one of many Titans that know what it takes to get to the Super Bowl. He won a title early in his career with the Steelers. Bernard Pollard has a ring from his days as a Raven. Newly acquired linebackers
“We’re going to work hard. I’m not an ‘I’ guy or a ‘me’ guy but I came here to help win,” said Woodyard who signed with the Titans after spending his first six NFL seasons in Denver. “As soon as I signed here I wanted to get to the playoffs and back to the Super Bowl. That’s what it’s about.”
“That continues to fuel me,” said McCourty. “You don’t put in that much work in the offseason and dedicate this much time to football to lose. Each year its new motivation and I want to win. You’re not going to be satisfied until you’re holding the Super Bowl trophy.”
The belief and energy is alive as the Titans prepare for their first practice Saturday morning. Now comes the grind and the hard work to make their goals become reality.
“For us here, we believe that we’re going to be a playoff team this year and that’s what we’re working to do,” McCourty said. “We know we have a lot of room for improvement and it’s up to us these weeks of camp to improve and come together as a team.”