Coordinator Dennard Wilson Offers View of Titans' Attacking Defense

Dennard Wilson and Brian Callahan
  Dennard Wilson and Brian Callahan

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – As Dennard Wilson introduced himself to Nashville, he was direct, focused and concise about what he will bring to the Titans as their new defensive coordinator

He started with something we heard before but built to something newer and fresher that I think qualifies as an exciting place to start in mid-March.

“It’s not about scheme, it’s about the players,” he said, echoing what Mike Vrabel said for the bulk of his six years with the Titans. “We have to figure out what they do well and then we’ll put the scheme around what they do well, to allow their talents to flourish.

“I can tell you this about the scheme, and I learned this a long time ago, General George Patton said this:

‘Nobody ever defended anything successfully.’ You’re going to attack and attack some more. We’re going to be an attacking defense, we’re going to be violent in our approach, we’re going to be smart, we’re going to be intelligent, we’re never going to compromise for competing, and that’s the style and brand of football that we’re going to play around here.”

That’s going to resonate now with fans, which doesn’t matter much, and later with players, which will matter a great deal.

And players on that side of the ball won’t have any lack of clarity about who’s the lead voice.

“Dennard going to have autonomy to run the defense the way he sees fit,” Callahan said. “As the head coach my job is always to oversee that process, help him where he could need help, for him to lean on me when he has questions about what an offense is doing. But at the end of the day, the expectation is that Dennard’s got control of the defense and I’ll be the as a resource and an asset when he needs it. But I wanted a guy who could command the defense, command the room for sure and I think I found that.”

There is no straight definition of what the Titans will look like defensively yet for two reasons.

Because Wilson is just starting to evaluate what he’s inheriting and how it best fits together and because defenses are so multiple now.

Callahan doubled down on the multiplicity theme he offered at his introductory press conference.

“There has to be a willingness to be multiple, to play different coverages, to play multiple fronts, to be able to mix the coverage scheme with the talent that you have,” he said. “To be able to blitz when it’s required to blitz, be able to play max coverage when you have to play max coverage. There is just an Kuharsky megaphoneelement to playing defense now in the NFL with the way that the passing games is and the way that these offenses are, if you lock yourself into one thing you tend to get found out pretty quickly. 

“One of the things I’ve always respected about the places Dennard’s been and the defenses he’s been a part of is that ability to be flexible and adaptable to what the scheme on offense is presenting you meanwhile still keeping a core, fundamental approach to what is important on the defense.”

Wilson said as he gets to deliver a message to his guys, he will emphasize effort, obnoxious communication, connection and brotherhood.

“When they believe in one another and trust in one another to execute their assignment and play at a high level, that’s when you get outstanding, violent defenses,” he said.

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