Titans defensive coordinator Ray Horton said during Wednesday morning radio interview that he is pleased the Titans re-signed Bernard Pollard to a multi-year contract.
Horton was a guest on The Wake Up Zone on 104.5-FM and elaborated on the retaining of Pollard, a 2013 Titans captain who led the team with 142 tackles in his first season in Tennessee. Click here for audio of the interview.
Horton, who was hired this offseason, said Pollard will provide “continuity for one, and I think leadership for two, and hopefully the fans will see a different style where we blitz him more and give him more freedom to disrupt.”The coordinator who appeared in two Super Bowls as a player and has coached in three said Pollard’s previous experience of winning Super Bowl XLVII with Baltimore will be helpful as the new coaching staff sets the tone of Tennessee’s defense.
Horton also discussed his initial thoughts on Michael Griffin, who is likely to play closer to the line of scrimmage this season than a year ago when he often lined up about 20 yards off the ball and patrolled the field.
“Not only do I want him to play closer to the line of scrimmage. I want him to play further behind the line of scrimmage, meaning go get the quarterback,” Horton said. “I think when you have an athletic player that is smart, do more things for me. Don’t always be the deep safety. Be up at the line of scrimmage, ‘are you coming (on a blitz)? Are you not? Are you dropping? Is it camouflage?’
“It’s all those things where I don’t want the quarterback to go, ‘33 is always going to be here.’ I want confusion,” Horton continued. “I want second-guessing from the quarterback. He’ll figure it out quickly, but I want him to go through his progression. The longer it takes him to figure it out, the more time we have to get to him.”
The Titans are able to begin their offseason program on April 7, which will allow the new staff an opportunity to meet with players. Horton said he’s the effort he’s seen during film study.
“The first thing I was most impressed with was their effort because if you can channel that effort in the right direction at the right time, you’ve got pieces there, and they did that. I keep using the example of Jason McCourty, who is one of the smaller guys on the team, but how violent a player he is with hitting, tackling, aggressiveness, and when the little guys will do that, you should have a pretty good team,” Horton said. “On the other end of the spectrum, you have the big guys that run to the ball. From a coaching standpoint, that’s what you want. I keep using the coaching mantra of little guys that hit and big guys that run. That’s really all you want, and the rest is just, you call the game.”
Tags: Bernard Pollard, Jason McCourty, Michael Griffin, Ray Horton, Tennessee Titans
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Michael Griffin believes the addition of Gregg Williams would help the Titans’ defense.
Griffin was asked about Titans coaching staff changes today during a community event at Hunters Lane High School in which Papa John’s made an $8,592 donation to his “Sacks 4 Kids” program benefiting underprivileged children.
“I’m pretty sure if you put he and Coach (Jerry) Gray together we can get things turned around,” Griffin said. “If he comes, I know coach Gray has coached underneath him, so I don’t think it would be anything where two coaches would bump heads trying to figure things out. Just watching the Saints play when they won the Super Bowl, and watching the way they played [under Williams],…and he’s been a coach here before. So he’d be able to bring all that together. I think it would help us in the long run.”
Griffin said he didn’t feel there would be any trust issues with the former New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator.
“I don’t think so. All of that is in the past and you just have to move forward,” Griffin said. “He’s been suspended and most people learn their lesson when they get suspended. The league took action and you just go from there. He paid his dues. He missed the whole entire season. You just have to go from there and move forward. I think as a Tennessee Titans organization we have bigger problems than to worry about what happened with the Saints.”
And would Williams need to tone down his approach?
“I don’t know about necessarily toning things down, I think he would just have to re-word his terminology,” Griffin said. “Football is a rough sport. Just watch (safety) Bernard Pollard play for the Baltimore Ravens. Some of those hits he’s doing – they’re all perfectly legal. It’s part of the game. If Williams does join us, I’m pretty confident that we could probably get things turned around going into this next season.”
Nearly a month removed from football, Griffin said he returned to the weight room last week and will continue picking up his conditioning pace throughout the off-season. After watching Sunday’s Pro Bowl and with the Super Bowl approaching, his football juices are flowing.
“Really you start getting geared back up and ready to play,” he said. “We’ve been out for almost a month now. I’m just getting back into the weight room, starting to train and pretty soon will get back out running and just get ready for next year.”
And Griffin will be ready play a key role on a defense that significantly improved over the second half of last season and one he feels is ready to take the next step.
“This team now is getting older. A lot of these guys are going into their third years. We’re not rookies or second-year players anymore,” Griffin said. “You’ve got Jurrell Casey who’s stepping his game up. Sen’Derrick Marks is stepping his game up. Now it’s time for all of us to step our game up. No more excuses. It’s time for us to get things turned around and get back on track.”
Tags: Gregg Williams, Michael Griffin
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Linebacker Zach Brown and defensive end Kamerion Wimbley each had 1.5 sacks in the game*, while linebacker Akeem Ayers, safety Michael Griffin, and defensive tackles Jurrell Casey and Karl Klug each tallied a solo sack.
In franchise history, there have been only five games in which the Oilers/Titans recorded more than seven sacks and only three road games with more than seven sacks.
Most team sacks in a road game, franchise history:
8 – Nov. 10, 1985 at Buffalo
8 – Sept. 12, 1982 at Cincinnati
8 – Oct. 17, 1976 at San Diego
7 – Nov. 25, 2012 at Jacksonville
7 – Oct. 9, 2005 at Houston
7 – Nov. 28, 1999 at Cleveland
7 – Nov. 14, 1999 at Cincinnati
7 – Sept. 23, 1979 at Cincinnati
7 – Dec. 22, 1963 at Oakland
* Brown was initially credited with two sacks in the game, and Wimbley was credited with one sack. A third-quarter sack by Brown has since been changed to a split sack between Brown and Wimbley.
Tags: akeem ayers, Jurrell Casey, Kamerion Wimbley, Karl Klug, Michael Griffin, Zach Brown
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It didn’t take long for the Titans to get on the scoreboard.
Following a three-and-out by Tennessee’s offense to open the game, defensive end Kamerion Wimbley darted up the middle, sacking Cardinals QB John Skelton for an 8-yard loss on Arizona’s first play. Tennessee’s defensive line brought pressure again the next play, forcing Skelton into a hurried pass that was intercepted by Michael Griffin.
Griffin’s return to Arizona’s 19-yard line put Tennessee’s offense in prime position.
Chris Johnson ripped off a 9-yard run and Jake Locker fired a 10-yard pass to rookie Kendall Wright on the next play for his first NFL touchdown and 7-0 Titans lead with 11:51 remaining in the first quarter.
Tags: Jake Locker, Kamerion Wimbley, Kendall Wright, Michael Griffin
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“Talking to my mother and coming from a great background, one of the best things she ever said was, ‘That’s a lot more money than you ever played for in any season you ever played. You can’t really be upset because you played for $3 million last year and you’d play for 6.2 million this year,’” Griffin said.
“It’s a business. When you started to play this sport, it was a business first and playing was second. You have to honor your contract, and you’ve got play out your contract. That’s all you can really do. There’s not anything else you can do except to go out and do your job.”
The franchise tag allows both the Titans and Griffin time to work out a long-term contract prior to the start of the season.
Tags: Michael Griffin
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