Assistant coaching conversations: Titans' notes from Thursday

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Assistant coaches outside of the guys slotted in the coordinator talking slots Zoomed with reporters Thursday, so the day before our first view of the Titans on the field a lot of subject matter was covered.

Without talking what I thought were some of the bigger storylines being worked on, I thought I’d offer you snippets from everyone with a bit of what it left me thinking. My Zoom photography was poor as I bounced between two, and at one point three screens, so you will not be quizzed later on what the new guys look like. We will save that for a bit later.

Anthony Midget on if he brings any technique changes for the corners:typorama 7

“I’ve been with Johnathan Joseph for a long time so I’ve got everything from him to a rookie in Kristian Fulton and Chris Jackson. I have to be flexible as a coach. What may work for Johnathan Joseph may not work for Malcolm (Butler). So I’ve got to do a great job of studying those guys, getting to know them. That’s what we’ve been doing, me and (Scott) Booker as a unit. It’s my job to see what a guy does well and get the most out of him that way. Tailor it to each individual guy, not put them all in one basket.”

PK: Everyone talks about being flexible and maximizing players, but it’s not always done that way. Here’s a coach with a new team overseeing what’s been regarded as a position of strength. He’s got a new first-rounder in Fulton and a fourth-year fifth-rounder in Adoree’ Jackson along with other guys with pedigrees and some who the team expect to be developed saying it’s not a one-size-fits-all deal. What’s not to like about this quote?

Scott Booker on Amani Hooker:

“He was able to play multiple positions at a high level at Iowa, was fairly diverse. When he came in here, last year he was able to get some playing time on defense in some packages. We look forward to him competing in those packages as well, that diversity he has hopefully will be able to be used this year. It’s kind of too early to tell exactly what type of things we would do regarding exact packages, big nickel all that type stuff but I do know Amani has some versatility and ability to play safety for us and some other positions if needed.”

PK: The Titans weren’t reluctant to use Hooker in sub-packages as he matured in his rookie season, so he will get a fair shake for sure as they look for the best ways to slow down bigger people who can catch the ball. I didn’t see as much as I heard about from coaches last year, so I am anxious for Year 2 of him.

Jim Haslett on Jayon Brown and Rashaan Evans:

“They love football, both those guys, all those guys. They are fun to coach, they take coaching, you can be critical when it’s time to be critical and when they do things well, we give them the praises. I love how they take coaching and they listen and try to do what you say. Jayon is really very intelligent, he picks things up fast. There are things he needs to work on to get better and I think he is doing a great job with those. There is not an unwillingness in that group to get better, they all want to get better.

PK: Of course Brown says he’s got no concern about a contract year, but it’s a big year for him to have a big year and Evans has a chance to break out on an even steeper slope with a bigger leadership role. Considering the way things ended with Tyrone McKenzie, Haslett could be a position coach who can really up production out of the duo and David Long.

Terrell Williams on Jeffery Simmons health:

“He’s moving around really good right now. We’ve been able to do drills, do some of the stuff without pads. I can tell you he looks a lot different in August of 2020 than he did in October of 2019 as far as his movement. I’m excited to see what he looks like moving forward.”

PK: Simmons recently told us his partial rookie season coming back from ACL repair included limited bend of his fixed knee and that it’s significantly improved now. He and his position coach both said we’ll get a fuller sense of things once he’s got the pads on and can be physical, but it’s good to hear that initial signs are good, from multiple perspectives.

Pat O’Hara on Ryan Tannehill’s mechanics:typorama 6

Technically sound Ryan Tannehill didn't need a big offseason theme

Keith Carter on the idea of last year’s offense as a fluke:

“On the one hand, we’re proud of what we did last year, that second half of the year. But on the other hand, that was only for the second half of the year and it’s a new year. So, I know that we’re not necessarily patting ourselves on the back. It’s a new challenge. We’re excited to just go show that the second half of the year is in some respects who we are and that wasn’t just a flash in the pan and all those types of things and that we can be consistently very good.”

PK: I don't think Carter is going so far as to play the disrespect card here. He's offering up some refreshing commentary that, while there may be outsiders or even opponents, who think what the Titans did in 2019 won't be sustainable, the team itself has reasonable cause to believe that it will be. I'd ride hard the idea that they are going to show that's who they are idea. 

Todd Downing on MyCole Pruitt and Anthony Firkser’s paths to the Titans:

“I think it’s a testament to our head coach and our general manager that they don’t care how you got here. They just care about how you can help the team and I think those two players embody that good-teammate, do-anything-you-ask, jack-of-all-trades, type players. I’m very fortunate to have a room full of guys that are hungry to get better and looking forward to see how they improve through the course of this training camp and season.”

PK: Just as I thought Kamalei Correa's keeping the faith line from earlier this week is something Mike Vrabel will point players to, I think the coach will continue to sell this. He's said it doesn't matter where you come from it matters what you do and he can point to the tight end room as an example, where Pruitt was signed off the Texans' practice squad and Firkser was undrafted out of Harvard. Both have important roles on offense and continue to work to get better at their weaknesses.typorama 5

Tony Dews on Derrick Henry’s leadership:

"Derrick is really good in terms of his leadership when he’s in person. Because now when we’re doing things in a meeting room he can answer questions and one of the things we do in a meeting room at all positions is coaches ask questions and when you have the ability to ask a guy that you consider a leader questions and they can answer the questions, and the entire team or the position group can see it, it makes everyone want to do well when their name is called and they are asked questions.

"And when we do have the opportunity to go on the field and do drill work, he sets the tone. I can’t think of one day that I’ve ever had to get on Derrick in the time that I’ve coached him about his effort in practice. When he goes, he goes."

PK: Henry's leadership has gotten better and better after he kind of eased his way into a team that has DeMarco Murray. We've all seen practice glimpses of him at work, but it should would be interesting to see the soft-spoken Henry doing his thing in a running back, offensive and team meeting. He's certainly made things easier for Dews, who came into the league on Vrabel's staff in 2018 and saw the bellcow back take the team on his back late that season.

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