Titans' Huddle Shape, Non-Mentions, Deep Holes and More

Brian CallahanNASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Titans started with the very basics when many of them got together for the first time Monday as the team started organized team activities.

Like how they are going to huddle.

“Choir style?” Nick Holz said. “Some people are in a circle. Where does the quarterback stand? Is he always to your sideline? Is he to their sideline? There are more ways than you think. We’re in a circle. We’re a circle huddle. The quarterback is always to the offensive sideline. There we go. I can give that away.”

That appears to be how the Titans huddled last year, so the first offensive step isn’t a big departure from what returnees are used to.

Here are five other things from Wednesday’s press availability with Brian Callahan, Holz and Dennard Wilson that I found interesting.

Backbone guys: They aren’t talking a lot about guys who are non-central players. 

It really perked my ears when Callahan mentioned Mason Kinsey in a conversation about slot receiver possibilities and when Wilson mentioned “Weave” – Rashad Weaver – in an answer about the pass rush. Because Callahan and Ran Carthon, who’ve spoken more than the coordinators, seem to have made a habit at this point of not mentioning guys who are not locks to be contributors or are not established as dependable guys on the roster.

Callahan didn’t mention Weaver or Caleb Murphy in a question about edge players at the annual meetings and he didn’t go to Treylon Burks in that slot answer when it seems like the third-year, first-round pick is a guy who might get chances there.

Likewise while talking about only having three tight ends on the roster he mentioned the two who played last year, Chig Okonkwo and Josh Wylie, but not Thomas Odukoya, who’s been an international practice squad exemption for the last two seasons.

It’s something I’ve taken note of so far. I don’t think there is a big message being sent, I just think the tendency at this stage is to talk primarily in primary guys. Secondary guys are going to have to, generally, earn their way into the conversation.

Tight ends and defensive line: Callahan has previously answered questions about a lot of need positions – left tackle, edge, right tackle, safety, cornerback. 

The list is so long for on his thin roster we finally got around to a couple more, tight end and the defensive line.

This answer on tight ends evoked a lot of immediate wide-eye emojis on Twitter, which are focused on Brock Bowers. I don’t see what Callahan said as making Bowers any more likely for the Titans in the first round considering their needs at positions considered more vital: Left tackle, receiver and edge.

But clearly they will be addressing the spot multiple times, likely in multiple ways.

As far as the defensive line, where there are no proven players beyond Jefferey Simmons and newcomer Joseph Sebastian-Day…

“It’s a position that’s still in its building phases,” Callahan said. “We’ve got guys that we feel good about, but just like any front, offensive or defensive, you’re never going to turn down good players that can bolster that. It always is going to start and end there.

"If you can play physical in the trenches, you’re going to have a chance to be a pretty good football team. Those are always areas we’re going to look to add players, even when we might have what we feel is a good front. Which we do, there is always going to be opportunity to keep adding to it.”

Callahan wants to be able to come at teams in waves, rush from inside and outside, be stout against the run and do so by always looking to add to the line, he said. 

Coordinators on their big gets: We had not heard from the coordinators on the big acquisitions on their sides of the ball. 

Holz got to know Ridley while both were in Jacksonville and said the receiver is certainly deserving of the deal the Titans gave him.

“He’s a worker, he said. “When you guys watch this guy practice and watch him run, you are going to see a guy that just goes all day. And I think he’s a tone-setter for the offense in that way. … He has a lot of speed, and that’s the one thing we wanted was speed. You watch him play with that, he rages off the ball.

"Sometimes he’s so fast he’s out of control, but it’s pretty impressive. I think we’ll be able to move him around a bunch, and him being a year further back into football I think the transition for him will be pretty easy.”

When Dennard Wilson was asked about having L’Jarius Sneed as part of his defensive backfield, he asked us if we saw the smile on his face.

“When you are consistent and you’ve had success, you bring extreme value to a football team… and he’s an accountable player,” Wilson said. “(Chidobe Awuzie) as well. The way Chido plays the game of football, how tough he is, the athleticism, his ability to do multiple things. It allows you as a defense to line up and cover guys. Because this is a passing league these days, the wide receiver talent is getting vastly good at a great speed.”

Strength and conditioning: The early stage of OTAs features a lot of strength and conditioning which puts a quick spotlight on Zac Woodfin, the team’s new director of sports performance.

What’s new about him and what the players will see from his expanded department?

“Just the style that we're going to work within that space, in the performance space,” Callahan said. “You've got a really great staff. It’s numbers-wise, a heavier staff. We've got six on the staff, plus Lauren (Silvio), the nutritionist. So, you got seven people in the performance world for us. I just love their plan. I love their energy. There's old school elements that have to be a part of that. You still have to do hard things. You have to lift hard, you have to condition.

“But then there's also the science factor of making sure we're doing the right things when we're doing them, what the loads are. There's a lot more that can go into that. I'm not a performance coach. I don't know all the details the way that he does. So at some point maybe you guys get to talk to him. But there’s a science part and a management part that filters in with the hard part. And I think that they do a great job of mixing that process together.”

Player development: 

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