After Friday’s OTAs, the Tennessee Titans‘ defense seems to be showing some fight. I wrote earlier about the team’s Smash Mouth identity as a whole, but feel more can be written about the forces behind the unit once again becoming a respected defense. While it is only June, the Titans are going about their business with a little more swagger than they have in the past.
The change in culture starts at the top with the hiring of senior assistant of the defense, Gregg Williams. Of Bounty-Gate fame, Williams is making his presence known. After remaining in the background during rookie orientation, he was loud and vocal during Friday’s team activities. Williams is known for instilling an aggressive nature in his unit, and while the Titans defense technically is under the charge of coordinator Jerry Gray, Williams’ hands can be seen all over the end product.
However, none of the changes would mean anything without a soldier on the field to personify Williams’ aggression, which is where safety Bernard Pollard comes in. A free agent acquisition from the Baltimore Ravens, Pollard is now on his fourth team since coming into the league in 2006. In an interview with ESPN’s Paul Kuharsky, Pollard said on Friday, “Every team is different. This is a very athletic team, this is a very, very smart team. Now it’s about putting the product together on the field. They signed me here for a reason. Screw what the naysayers got to say, screw what everybody else got to say. I’m healthy right now, ready to go. I think our team is going to be a force to be reckoned with. At the same time we’re floating under the radar and this is where we need to be. We have a very talented team but at the same time, we still have some things to learn.” Though he is currently only on a one-year contract with the Titans, his swagger and on the field impact will likely yield him a long term deal with the team.
Together, look for newcomers Williams and Pollard to change the identity of the Titans defense, forging them an aggressive unit that will help elevate last year’s unit that was ranked dead last in the league in points given up per game, 29.4