NASHVILLE, Tenn. —
In his mind, it’s silly to make any Super Bowl guarantees in April.
“We have work to do, man,’’ the Titans linebacker replied Monday when asked about his expectations for 2017. “What do I look like, a sucker? We have work to do. Expectations are very high within ourselves. But we are not talking about all that Super Bowl stuff right now, because we have a lot of work to do.”
Yes, the team made great strides in 2016, but that means nothing now.
“The message from this morning: Last year is last year, but obviously we are on the right track,’’ running back
“But I don’t think anybody is patting ourselves on the back from last year -- nine wins and no playoffs. Last year is last year, but this year we obviously want to get better and make something happen.”
After a 2-14 finish in 2014, and a 3-13 mark in 2015, the Titans looked like a different team in 2016 under the direction of head coach Mike Mularkey.
After a 1-3 start, the Titans ended the season with wins in eight of their final 12 games. The Titans posted wins over six teams with winning records, and five teams headed to the playoffs -- the Dolphins, Chiefs, Packers, Lions and Texans. They also beat the Broncos (9-7), the defending Super Bowl champs.
The Titans finished the season 5-3 at Nissan Stadium, where they ended the year with four straight wins. They finished second in the division behind the Texans, ahead of the Indianapolis Colts (8-8) and Jacksonville Jaguars (3-13).
“Everybody knows what we are capable of,’’ defensive lineman
The Titans return all five Pro Bowlers from a year ago – Orakpo, Murray, Casey, tackle
The continuity should help, along with the new additions.
Orakpo, Murray and Casey all said the Titans need to concentrate on working on the little things day in and day out during the offseason.
“The mindset is we definitely have high expectations for ourselves within our team, but we have a lot of work to do,’’ Orakpo said. “I know it sounds cliché, but we do. Last season was last season, and we definitely did a lot of great things, not only for our team, but for the city in general. The fans, everybody is excited. But it would mean absolutely nothing if we don’t come back in here and get to work and get better.
Murray said the next few months could provide a big jumpstart to the 2017 season.
Murray, heading into his seventh NFL season, called last offseason the best he’s experienced as a pro from a team-building perspective.
“I think this is the most important part for an NFL team, for the next nine weeks, to try and lay the foundation,’’ Murray said. “Obviously you want to take care of your body. But this is where all the work is put in and some teams are going to go up, and some teams are going to go down in these next nine weeks. Obviously you want training camp to be great, but this is where you lay the brick.
“The expectations are to get better every day. We are not worried about the playoffs right now, but we are working toward some goals.”