Could Cortland Finnegan be laying the groundwork, preparing fans for an exit from Tennessee?
In an interview with TitanInsider's Darren McFarland and former Titans tackle Brad Hopkins on WNSR-AM 560's Afternoon Pressbox, Finnegan spoke of being in the final year of his contract and wishing that he could stay around as the Titans rebuild under Mike Munchak.
Finnegan said he is looking forward to the changes that will be implement under Munchak and new defensive coordinator Jerry Gray, whom he said – without naming names – will be better prepared on game day than his predecessor Chuck Cecil was.
“I feel with the new coaching staff we will be well prepared for whatever we face on Sunday,” Finnegan said. “I think that was one of the things sometimes we were lacking, but now we have. I'm super excited for the direction we're going. It being my last year, you wish you had a few more years in that Titans uniform, but I can only speak of one now that I'm really excited about.”
As for the changes on defense, Finnegan is excited about Gray's arrival, even if this winds up being his last go-around as a Titan. He signed a four-year deal worth $16.8 million in 2008 that is set to expire after this season.
“I've had a few conversations with him. I love the direction he is going in,” Finnegan said. 'He wants to put guys in positions that they're most comfortable in, and I really appreciate that. I love it and it's just for us to go out there and make the plays. I look forward to what we're going to do on defense, moving corners around in nickel and nickel to safety and everybody knowing the whole defense. I love that aspect.”
Finnegan led the Titans' off-season program that culminated with approximately 40 players coming to Father Ryan High School for an informal mini-camp in June. Finnegan said he was not surprised at the level of participation as he called and e-mailed players.
“I knew I needed to step up as a leader. I sort of shied away from that last year. Kyle Vanden Bosch is my biggest inspiration. When he was down here in Nashville, he told me what he was doing there (in Detroit). We just had so many uncertainties as team that I wanted to bring everybody together,” Finnegan said. “I personally called everybody and asked them. I was excited to see that we had the most guys in the NFL show up for our two-day mini-camp.
“Everyone I had talked to said they were coming. I had about 40 guys in mind. I had already talked to CJ, and I knew he was going to be there. I was surprised to see some of the rookies there, because they didn't have any contracts, and that was big for me to see them there.”
Finnegan has already become a big fan of first-round pick Jake Locker, and even though comments from him questioning the fit of new Titans quarterback Matt Hasselbeck as a fit for the offense, Finnegan said he welcomed the former Seahawk and believes he will help Locker and the team.
“Him being a pro and coming in there and showing Jake how to really get it done on all levels, I think will be huge for us,” he said of Hasselbeck. “He'll pick up the offense so quick and that'll really help us, because guys who put in the time are really going to have the edge in the NFL right now, because so many teams that have new coaches or new schemes and the sooner you veterans in here to learn the system, the sooner your team can take off.
“I'll give him the thumbs up because he is a Titan now. He wasn't on Monday, but he is a Titan now.”
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