The Tennessee Titans opened mini-camp with a different approach than the usual off-season practice.
Rather than run through drills with scripted plays, the Titans decided to simulate game conditions as much as you can in June with no pads on.
Players and coaches worked in game conditions with plays being run to accommodate both certain down and distances and the personnel that was on the field, rather than simply calling this play or that.
It allowed the players to compete against each other, and it allowed for offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains and the defensive tandem of Jerry Gray and Gregg Williams to match wits and make calls depending upon the situation.
“I thought it was good for everyone, the coaching staff, the players, to put them in situations where they weren’t quite sure what was going to be called,” Titans coach Mike Munchak said. “In the meetings, we’ll probably stress more what each other’s tendencies were with different plays we were going to run.”
Munchak said the Titans would take the same approach Wednesday.
“We talked about that when the season ended, during the off-season with the staff, about doing more of that. That’s as good for the coaches as anybody. It makes them have to think and attack each other,” Munchak said. “That way we’re not pre-planning everything we’re doing out here and scripting everything. Once we get everything installed and spent the first nine OTA days of getting everything in, it gave us a good understanding of what we were doing. You can’t tackle, but this is as close as you can get to playing real football.”
Titans quarterback Jake Locker put his stamp of approval on the idea as well, getting the opportunity to call plays in the red zone, and in a number of down and distance situations throughout the practice.
“For coaches and players, it’s similar to a game, where it’s not scripted out,” Locker said. “You have a list of plays that could possibly be called, but you’ve got to execute and know a larger amount, and I’m excited about that.
“I thought we did well. We came out and I thought we made some big plays. Consistently we were able to get big plays and positive yards.”
Several players are still nursing minor injuries and won't take part in mini-camp work, including three-fifths of the projected starting offensive line.
Rookie receiver Justin Hunter (hamstring), as well as receivers Kevin Walter (back) and Roberto Wallace (ankle) are out of mini-camp as well. Safeties Markelle Martin (groin) and Robert Johnson (foot) continue to be out also.
Asked if the Titans' backup safety situation behind Michael Griffin consisted now of cornerback Alterraun Verner, defensive coordinator Jerry Gray said Verner was in the mix, especially with Johnson and Martin uncertain because of injuries.
Gray joked that secondary coach Brett Maxie and Gray himself might have been next in line, but he said they were too old to suit up.
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