NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- For all the coverage issues the Titans cornerbacks had last season, one of the major points of emphasis through the offseason and into camp didn’t have much to do with balls in flight.

It’s been run support.

“That’s one thing we know, in order for us to get to where we’ve got to get to, that’s the No. 1 thing we’ve got to improve,” secondary coach Deshea Townsend said. “The pass is another one. But if we’re physical and we’re stopping the run, we’ll give ourselves a chance in games in the long run.

“No matter what level you play at, if you’re not stopping the run you’re not going to win many games.”

In the preseason opener against the Jets, Titans cornerbacks accounted for nine tackles at the end of run plays. Six of those runs were for 4 yards or less, where corners closed something down as opposed to where a run broke through to the secondary.

 “We’re part of the run defense,” said Logan Ryan, the veteran corner the Titans signed from New England to help revamp their secondary. “If you’ve got a helmet on, you’re expected to tackle. A lot of offenses, they scheme it up not to block the corner. And they trust their running back to make the corner miss and we trust our corners to make that tackle.”

The Titans DBs regularly participate in tackling drills.

Monday night at one point during individual position periods, Townsend had each guy take a turn starting on his knees in front of a coach holding a blocking bag. The tackler had to explode upwards, wrap the bag and twist it to the ground.

“One thing I’ve always taught is, the more you can bring the arms the better,” Townsend said. “We want to keep those shoulders intact, keep that neck close to the thigh, wrap and squeeze. One thing you see a lot of young guys do is just throwing their shoulder and not bringing their arms. You might miss him, but if you can just grab something, you’ll get an opportunity to bring him down.”

Hall of Famer Deion Sanders didn’t have a reputation as a great tackler.

The best cornerback of the Titans era, Samari Rolle, was a slight player who excelled in coverage but generally preferred to get in the way, slow things down and allow help to arrive when he was in run support.

But the current Titans don’t buy the idea there was time when corners didn’t have to be physical tacklers, and they’ve got little interest in avoiding that element of the game.

“With the amount of concepts they’ve got in the pass game nowadays, the plays and spread offense and different gadgets, you’ve got to be able to tackle after they catch it too,” Ryan said. “I believe, Deion when he competed, he tackled. I watched him over lunch Monday versus Jerry Rice and those guys go at it. And he was tackling his butt off.

“I think it’s just part of everyone’s game. To be an elite corner, you’ve got to be a well-rounded corner. To play at this level you’ve got to be able to tackle someone.”

Titans coach Mike Mularkey suggests his team asks its corners to do more in run support than other teams.

But both Ryan and veteran nickelback Brice McCain said they don't believe that's really the case.

McCain said every corner everywhere is expected to tackle, but his team’s got more physical guys who are able to do it better in any situation.

“We have more physical corners who are going to stick their head in it anything and make any tackle,” McCain said. “It was a big emphasis of the offseason: Be the best tackling secondary in the league. We really focused on that. We’re still doing it right now.”

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