New Titans GM Ruston Webster was the guest speaker today at the Golden Bison Luncheon on the campus of Lipscomb University. He addressed a group of strong supporters of Lipscomb’s athletic program, offering his thoughts on several topics relating to his new role with the team, the direction of the club and the type of players he and his staff will be looking for in free agency and the upcoming NFL Draft.
Here are a few highlights:
(on his philosophy of building the team)
“You have to have a solid foundation with the right type of guys and players that work hard and are dedicated to football. They have to be tough and smart. I know that’s what Mike Munchak wants. It’s important to him that we have solid guys to do the things he wants them to do and buy into what he does.
As a team, I want us to get back to being the old Titans. I remember when I was with the Bucs, when we played the Titans, they played a fast, aggressive, nasty defense. They were physical and they could run the ball. They were always a tough outing. That’s what I’d like for us to get back to – that kind of style of play. Mike Munchak feels the same way. He was here during all of that. That’s really what I want to see us be.”
(on that style of play helping the Titans get back to the playoffs)
“We haven’t won a playoff game in a long time – since the 2003 season. It’s time for us to win a playoff game and go further. And for us to do that, you’ve got to be that type of team. For all the passing yards and great quarterback stats this year, when it came down to it in the NFC Championship game, it was the New York Giants tough, old-school football and it was the San Francisco 49ers tough, old-school football. To get to the playoffs and win, you have to be able to go in the cold weather and run the ball.”
(on the challenge of free agency)
“Unfortunately the business side gets in the way sometimes. You can’t keep everybody you would like to and you have to make tough decisions. Those decisions are not always easy and they’re definitely not always popular. For the most part, I feel like when we make our decisions, and in the past when we made our decisions, we had all the information. You just do the best for your team and for your owner. I think we’ll draft well and continue to build a good, young core.”
(on what his immediate goals are to build the team)
“My immediate goal is to help improve our offensive line and our defensive front seven. That’s going to be our focus moving forward into free agency and the draft. If we can do that – get a little bit more of a pass rush and run the ball a little better — I think we’ll be okay.”
(on Jake Locker’s potential)
“I think we have a good, young quarterback in Jake Locker who just has natural leadership ability, and he brings that toughness and type of temperament in his game. I think you’ll see our guys rally around that.
I was with the Seahawks when Jake started playing at the University of Washington, so I saw Jake play probably two or three games a year all through his junior year until I came here. Jake was a star the minute he stepped on campus at Washington because everybody knew who he was. He was a high-profiled recruit from a little town – Ferndale, Washington – who wanted to stay and play for a state school. He was loved and revered there. You could see early on that he had talent. He has a lot of physical skills and he’s continued to develop his skills as a quarterback. He works so hard at it.
That’s the other thing. He kind of has that ‘it’ factor and people rally to him, gravitate to him. He’s a good guy. He’s solid, and he cares about his teammates and they feel that. We were interviewing a linebacker who got drafted in the third round by the Bucs who played at the University of Washington with Jake and we asked him about Jake – like we do with other players when we ask about their teammates because players know players. If they don’t like their teammate, then there’s probably some issue there. He said, ‘I’ll tell you about Jake Locker.’ He said he would drive from one end of the town to the other to pick up a teammate that didn’t have a car or was having car trouble – and Seattle’s a big city – to get him to workout. That’s leadership, and that’s one of the big reasons we drafted him.”
(on working with Tony Dungy and Jon Gruden in Tampa)
“Tony changed everything because he brought stability to an organization that didn’t have any. He came in with a plan and executed the plan, no matter what anybody said. Tony just did the right thing. His decisions were made based on what he thought was right for the organization and for his team. And then as a person, I’ve been around a lot of guys, coaches and people in high positions and Tony treated everybody the same. No matter what your position was, you never felt like you had to get loud to get your point across. You just had to let him know and he was going to listen and he was going to make his decision. He was awesome in that way, and he, in my mind really saved the organization because of the stability he brought. And then we got good players in there and they all bought into him and loved him. One of the unfortunate things was we couldn’t quite get to the Super Bowl and so Tony was let go, which was unfortunate. It did work out for us when Jon (Gruden) came in and we had always struggled on offense and Jon got the offense going. Jon brought juice to the offense and to the team. He made it to where he put the offense on equal footing to the defense and they challenged each other and it made us really good. They were different guys. Jon’s a good friend and a great guy. It was enjoyable. There was a contrast, but I’ll always look back fondly on both. I learned a lot from both of them.”
Tags: Ruston Webster
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