Tennessee Titans coach Mike Munchak sent his players home from mini-camp a day early on Wednesday, ending two days of work with a family picnic and lecturing them on being on their best behavior before they report for training camp on July 24.
On cutting things a day short, Munchak said the Titans' game-like work of the previous two days was sufficient heading into just over a month-long break.
Munchak and the Titans coaching staff went though game-type situations both Tuesday and Wednesday, even punting and calling plays based on down-and-distance and personnel situations, rather than having them pre-scripted.
“I told them on Tuesday that I felt good about what we were doing and that we'd come out and do pre-game warmups and 15-minute quarters. I feel good about that. I don't know if one more day could have made it any better,” Munchak said. “I talked them an decided probably on Tuesday after we put the schedule. Three practices in a row at this level, it's not easy to do. … I feel like we've gotten as much done as we can, coaches included. Everyone can enjoy a good break.”
For Munchak, he said that coming off a 6-10 season last year, everyone on the coaching staff and the front office knew that things had to change. Tennessee brought in 16 free agents (including signing tackle Barry Richardson on Wednesday) plus their 2013 draft class in an effort to change the culture. Munchak and the coaching staff's mission in all that is to make the parts fit together as quickly as possible. Hence, the decision to make mini-amp practices more “live.”
“I think we're excited about where we're at,” Munchak said. “I think we've accomplished a lot since the end of the season. (General manager) Ruston Webster, myself and the staff, we've done everything we could to make this thing different next year.
“We've got a lot of work ahead of us, but we're happy with what we're doing, but we've got a long way to go.”
As for this season being make-or-break, Munchak said that isn't a concern right now with the season fast approaching.
“I understand. You can't worry about that. I don't worry about that. Our plan is to be successful and if it doesn't work, we'll worry about the alternative later,” Munchak said. “I'm looking forward to it. I think it's gonna as great challenge for us. We have an interesting scheduled to start off, and we'll see.”
Before the time off began, the Titans also made sure to have a little bonding time before everyone went their separate ways by having a family picnic.
Such a get-together usually doesn't happen until the Titans trim their roster to 53 players, but with so many new faces, Munchak said the get-to-know session was beneficial not only to players but their families.
“A lot of these guys don't know each other I don't know if the wives have even been together yet,” Munchak said. “This for for all the guys to get just get together. Not just for the guys to do something together, it's good for the families to get together as well. These are the kinds of things we need to do more of, even if it's just having a hamburger and a hot dog.”