Ken Whisenhunt has learned not to trust his eyes.
What the Tennessee Titans head coach sees — or thinks he sees — on the practice field carries little, if any weight when compared to when he watches film of any given practice a short time later.
The Titans completed their first minicamp workout under Whisenhunt and staff shortly after 12:30 p.m. Tuesday. Roughly a half hour later, the first-year coach headed for his office to get a look at what really happened.
“You never know from out here on the field,” Whisenhunt said. “Sometimes, you think it’s a bad practice and it’s better when you go in and watch it. A lot of time when you think it’s great, it’s not so good. The one thing that we’ve got is we get a chance to watch these guys doing some of the things we’re trying to get done. So yeah, it’s a great evaluation for us.”
Whisenhunt said last week that the current three-day, voluntary minicamp, which began Tuesday, is critical for him and his assistants to understand the current roster and any potential needs that might exist. It comes a little more than a week before the start of the NFL draft and could influence what the team does during that process.
That makes the roughly 45 minutes Whisenhunt planned to spend with the film the most critical point of the day.
“I think the biggest message that we’re trying to get across to these guys is how important it is to do the right thing technique-wise, mentally, communicate, get in the right positions,” Whisenhunt said. “The physical part — making the tackles, making those plays, blocking those guys — that’s all going to come. And we’re going to have time to see that.
“We have to set a good foundation in these three days with operating our system and doing it right, not making a lot of mistakes. We had our share of mistakes [Tuesday].”
For this week, at least, it’s not the mistakes he’s looking for. Having been a head coach for six seasons with the Arizona Cardinals, a time during which that franchise made its only Super Bowl appearance, he knows how the offense and defense should look.
It is the film that will let him know when things were done correctly.
“I’m comfortable with our coaches and our staff and our approach,” Whisenhunt said. “I think one of the messages to our team was that we’ve had success both defensively and offensively with these systems. So put the time in. We’re going to adjust it, tweak it, make it fit for the guys that we have. And we expect to be successful.
“…You’re not going to make the team today or in this minicamp. This is really more about finding out about what you can do.”