Inside Slant | Notes, Quotes | Strategy and Personnel |
After spending OTAs and minicamp installing and refining their new offensive and defensive systems, the Tennessee Titans hope to hit the ground running once they have their first training camp practice on July 26.
New coach Ken Whisenhunt has been busy installing a new more up-tempo, pass-friendly offense that might finally bring the Titans into the 21st century on that side of the football, after years of a plodding ground attack run by both Jeff Fisher and Mike Munchak.
Defensively, the Titans are shifting to a 3-4 under new defensive coordinator Ray Horton, who has been busy sorting through the personnel he inherited and the free agents and draft picks acquire to see who fits as outside linebackers, nose tackles and five-technique ends.
Whisenhunt said he believes the Titans can contend out of the gate, even with all the changes, but even he seems to admit it will take everything clicking and coming together from the start of camp, so there is no backsliding with the playbook.
"I think as a coach in your first year with a new team probably, you're never where you want to be. But I think as far as establishing the way that we work and from an installation perspective, I think we got a lot done," Whisenhunt said. "But when we come back, it's gonna be tough. We've got to really pick it up and get going. That's gonna be the next test for this group is how they handle the next five weeks. The rookies, they don't know what's coming from the standpoint of how long this season can be. But the veterans do, and I hope they understand what it takes during this time to be ready when we start."
Whisenhunt has been pleased with how the players have worked in gaining an understanding of his expectations in learning the system through OTAs and minicamp and hopes to carry that over into training camp. In the five-week break, Titans players will have their iPads with them to study playbooks and stay on top of things.
"I think probably the No. 1 thing is how these guys work. You never know when you're with a group for the first time from a standpoint of working on a field and how they study. We put a lot in. I think the iPads obviously helped tremendously," he said. "But one of the things you're looking for, when they're walking around the building or sitting in the dining hall, they're looking at their iPads and they're studying the plays. That's an important piece of it, because it becomes part of it and how they work. On the field, it's tough and they've worked well. I like that. Everybody seems to be into football."
Players report: July 25
First practice: July 26.
Joint practice at Falcons: Aug. 4