New coaches see speed, effort in reviewing Titans' 2013 performance

Ray Horton is not in a rush to draw conclusions about the Tennessee Titans defense. Already, though, he is convinced about the speed of the players up front.

“The thing that impresses me the most is the speed on the field,” he said Wednesday. “And they run. They’re athletic. Regardless of the system, the scheme they were playing they run to the ball. The front seven, they run to the ball. The back end, they tackle well. And that’s the ingredients to a good defense.”

The new defensive coordinator said he has reviewed half of the games from the 2013 season, which puts him three in front of offensive coordinator Jason Michael, who has gone through five.

Neither was prepared to speak in depth about many particular players in their first press conference since they joined coach Ken Whisenhunt’s staff. Whisenhunt was equally reticent to comment on individuals.

For now, they’re content to let the video speak for itself as they try to familiarize themselves with their new players. During a stroll down the hallway outside the coaches’ offices the one constant was that every staff member, even those retained from last year, were immersed in film study this week.

“I’ve seen a lot of good things on the tape,” Whisenhunt said. “I’ve seen a lot of different guys making plays and doing some good things. I’ve seen a lot of mistakes that you’d like to think you can correct, you can clean up. Speaking to what Ray said, I’ve been pleased with the effort. They’ve done a good job here of preparing the team from an effort standpoint. If you had to start somewhere, that’s a good place to start.”

For Horton (pictured), the process is a familiar one.

This is the third year in a row he is in charge of a different defense. He was the coordinator under Whisenhunt for the Arizona Cardinals in 2012 and had the same role last season with the Cleveland Browns.

His Cardinals’ defense ranked 12th in yards allowed and his Browns’ defense was ninth despite the fact that those teams won a combined nine games.

He plans to present his entire scheme to the Titans this summer and – based on what he’s seen – expects they will learn it quickly.

“We’ll put everything in in the minicamps and the OTAs,” Horton said. “We’ll polish it up in training camp and we’ll hit the ground running.

“…If we have guys that exemplify what I’ve seen on film so far – the effort, the desire, the speed – we’ll be OK.”