On 104.5 The Zone in Nashville, long time NFL coach and new Tennessee Titans defensive coordinator,Ray Horton made a brief, early morning appearance to the show. This is a brief summary of what he said on the show.
Note: (None of these answers are direct quotes unless otherwise noted, this is simply a summary of the highlights.)
When asked what it means to have a guy like Bernard Pollard back and what does he give the team, continuity and leadership were immediately cited. Then Horton talked about how the Titans were going to use him on the field. He said that the Titans would be blitzing him more this season allowing him to disrupt plays more than he did in 2013.
When asked what the defense will look like based on what he had seen so far, Horton gave the Titans high marks for effort but said that the effort wasn’t channeled correctly last year. Jason McCourty seems to be a favorite for him as he keeps calling him a “little guy that hits” referring to McCourty’s aggression in the run game.
When asked how he envisions the snap breakdown in the new “hybrid” 3-4 defense, Horton described the defense as reactionary, meaning that they will customize themselves to attack where opponents are week. He cited a situation where the Pittsburgh Steelers now go “empty-set” 45 percent of the time and how that is indicative of how the game has changed to more of a spread out, passing league. His final words were, “I don’t know what we will be, but I know what we will look like. We are going to look like a team that matches up and hits people in the mouth.”
Position versatility and talent seem to supersede ideal numbers to Horton. He talked about how getting the best players you can on the roster regardless of position is the smart move. He wants guys who are multiple, and guys who can only do one thing aren’t good fits for the Titans.
Michael Griffin said that Horton wants him to play closer to the line of scrimmage. When asked what he likes about Griffin there, Horton said that he wants him to also play more behind the line of scrimmage suggesting that Pollard might not be the only safety blitzing more in 2014. He wants both safeties to be multiple and make it hard for a quarterback to diagnose the safeties pre-snap.
Horton gushed about Ken Whisenhunt when asked about his strengths as a coach, saying he coordinated a rookie quarterback to 15 wins (Ben Roethlisberger) then took that same quarterback to the Super Bowl. Next he took the Arizona Cardinals, a team that rarely makes postseason appearances, to a Super Bowl. Then he completely turned around a sinking San Diego Chargers offense. He knows how to build a roster and how to lead men.