Unfamiliarity works both ways, benefits Titans during OTAs

Ken Whisenhunt’s offense is not just new to the Tennessee Titans who run it. It’s new to those who work against it every day.

The same is true of Ray Horton’s defense.

That adds a level of competitiveness to the organized team activities (OTAs), which entered their third and final week Monday. After three days of on-field work each of the last two weeks there will be four this week, which gets the team to the maximum of 10. Three days of mandatory minicamp follow next week.

Players do their best to treat every snap in practice, whether in OTAs, minicamps training camp or during the season, as a new challenge. The fact is, though, that after they work against the same plays for a period of weeks, months or – in some cases – years, they can’t help but know what’s coming.

That’s not an issue with the Titans who have overhauled the playbooks and terminology on both sides of the ball significantly. And, according to Whisenhunt, the players still have not explored the full depths of the schemes with their on-field work.

Not only do they have to think about what they’re doing, therefore, they also have to think more about what those on the other side of the ball are doing. That, they say, adds a benefit to the current work that normally does not exist at this time of year.

Here’s a perspective on that dynamic from both sides of the ball:

• Cornerback Jason McCourty: “We’re at a point where you’re not really thinking too much about the offense because we’re trying to master what we’re doing on defense. So you don’t really have time to try to kind of anticipate what the offense is doing.

“But playing against San Diego last year and now competing against the offense that Coach Whisenhunt is running it does make it more interesting. You can’t really anticipate the same type of route concepts from the same type of formation over the past couple years that we’ve gotten. Definitely, it does add a new dimension.”

Quarterback Jake Locker: “The one advantage of going against a defense like this throughout OTA, minicamp and fall camp is you’re going to see almost every look you’re going to see during the season. So it gives you an opportunity to see it, talk about it, go watch it in the film room and figure out the best ways for us to counter it, whether it be an audible call or a protection call.

“So you get an opportunity to kind of run the mental gymnastics and then doing it on the field in these settings so it’s not the first time that you’ve done it out there on Sundays. Hopefully that’s an advantage for us.”