I got the chance to sit down with Titans Defensive Coordinator, Chuck Cecil, after Thursday's practice.
Cecil was the Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year, his senior season at Arizona. He was drafted in the fourth round, by the Green Bay Packers, in 1988.
In 1993, Cecil was featured on the front cover of Sports Illustrated with the caption, "Is Chuck Cecil Too Vicious for the NFL?"
Cecil has been on the Titans staff since 2001.
TitanInsider: What changed with the defense from last season?
Chuck Cecil: First off, we have a lot of different personnel this year. As much change from one year to the next, since I've been here. We've been plugging in new guys, there is a difference there. The fact, we've been having success early, has a lot more to do with the teams we're playing rather than different people, doing different things. It's more who we play.
TitanInsider: What changed with your play calling over the last year?
Chuck Cecil: Not really anything, for the most part it's the same.
TitanInsider: When you took the job, what were some things that were a bigger challenge then you initially thought?
Chuck Cecil: The biggest challenge is gameday. When you're an assistant, the hay is in the barn on gameday. You can make little adjustments here and there but for the most part, you do all your work during the week. As a coordinator, gameday is "The Day." You do all that work for that day and prepare yourself for Sunday, and that's a big change. The other part, is just time management. What you use your time focusing on, that's the biggest change I think.
TitanInsider: Was that part of the job a big adjustment for you to make?
Chuck Cecil: I wouldn't say it was a huge adjustment. It was something I anticipated even going into last year. I had talked to Jimmy [Schwartz] a lot about it and I knew what the job entailed. And working with Jimmy for as long as I had, I just did those things.
TitanInsider: Would you advise any of your players to play like you did?
Chuck Cecil: [Long Laugh] Some of it yes and some of it no. The reason I got to play, I had a knack for hits, and those hits today are genuinely perceived as illegal. That was my "calling card", and how I used to fit in. But now if I just had to cover people, I probably wouldn't be in the league very long.
TitanInsider: Anybody on this team remind you of you?
Chuck Cecil: [Another long laugh] No, and that's a good thing.
TitanInsider: Cortland Finnegan has said he wants to be known as the dirtiest player in the league. Are you ok with that?
Chuck Cecil: The term or phrase "dirtiest player" has so many different connotations. In a lot of ways, it's a good thing and in some ways, it's a bad thing. If you're "dirty" in the right way, it is a nice title to have.
TitanInsider: When the news came out about Albert Haynesworth, possibly ending up back in Tennessee, did that motivate your players on defense?
Chuck Cecil: I would say that had absolutely zero bearing on our defense, as in none. We have a great group of players, that prepare themselves professionally to get ready to play. There were No distractions. So that would be a No.
TitanInsider: Do you wish the league was taking the stance on concussions back when you played, like they are today?
Chuck Cecil: It's kinda of a loaded question. I think anytime you're doing things to protect the players and their safety, it's a good thing and a step in the right direction. Back then, when you got knocked out, when you woke up you went back in the game. I've been unconscious 50, 60, 70 times. Now days, anytime you lose consciousness, it's considered a concussion. The definition has changed, just like the game has changed. It's all for the good of the game and anytime you do something to protect the players, I'm all for it.
TitanInsider: Does this defense have a realistic shot of being a "special defense" this year?
Chuck Cecil: I hope so, you have to go out and prove it on Sunday's though and not just talk about it. You have to walk it, not talk it. It doesn't matter what you say you're gonna do, you just gotta go do it. So, we'll just have to wait and see.