New Titans receivers coach Shawn Jefferson classifies his position group as “under construction” as the Titans advance through their offseason program but said it’s been “very helpful” to see players on the field than just on film.
Jefferson has been laying a foundation for the plan he envisioned when he got the job. He said he’s trying to expose the receivers to as much adversity through hard training and begins every practice by shouting, “Work,” as each receiver hits a blocking sled.
Jefferson played in 195 games in 13 NFL seasons and laces up cleats instead of sneakers every day he hits the field so he can demonstrate routes the way he wants them to be run. He’s also instilling a “no block, no rock” mentality to encourage receivers to take care of responsibilities that go beyond catching and running.
“One thing is we’ve got to be great blockers at the receiver position,” Jefferson said. “That’s the first thing we’ve got to do. We have a running back (Chris Johnson), that every time he touches the ball, he has a chance to take it to the house, so we’re going to give him every opportunity to do that.”
Another strong emphasis is on finishing the play, whether a receiver has the ball or is going to help the player that just caught it. Jefferson’s made it a frequent habit to sprint toward a receiver after a catch, yelling, “Finish,” as defenders swarm and reach for the football and has been vocal when he doesn’t think a player has sprinted hard enough toward the ball after a catch.
“That’s got to be like second nature when one of your teammates catches the ball,” Jefferson said. “You’ve got to hit the trail running. A guy may strip the ball and you may be there to pick it up. I want us to major in the non-talented issues: hustle, attitude, effort. Once you’ve got a group that majors in those — because these guys have the physical tools to play this game, but everybody else in the league has the tools to play this game, so what you’ve got to decide is, ‘What’s your mission statement as a player? Are you going to be relentless?’
“When people see my group, I want them to say those guys major in the non-talent issues,” Jefferson continued. “That’s what I’m trying to instill in them. When it’s not coming your way and you’ve got a block on the backside, ‘What’s your attitude in getting out there to get that touchdown block?’ That’s what I’m interested in. You’re going to catch passes, you’re going to catch touchdowns; I’m interested in the non-talent issues, the want-to.”
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