Year after year. It’s a ritual; rookies come and veterans go. Since the inception of the salary cap, drafting has been one of the most significant factors in a team’s ability to remain competitive. With the speed of the game being dramatically faster, many rookies experience a rough transition to the NFL (the Matt Ryan and Cam Newton’s of the world notwithstanding). A large degree of their future success depends upon how they respond to coaching, film, practices, and camps. To that degree, the new crop of Tennessee Titans look to be in good shape.
There is a great article on the “Indoctrination of Titans Rookies” at TitansOnline.com. (Our own Matias Wodner also summarized the performance of the individual players, which you can catch here) The article does a good job of highlighting how the players are not only trying to absorb a completely new system and terminology, but they are also trying to display their talents in an effort to make the team. We may take for granted that a second-round pick such as Zach Brown will make the team, but thankfully, that doesn’t mean that he sees it that way.
“For me, I want that (roster) spot, so I’m going to do everything I’ve got to get it” – Zach Brown
Munchak understands this, which is why he has created an environment where rookies are encouraged to play hard and not worry about mistakes they may make.
“They’ll have plenty of opportunities to learn, to show us what they can do. I told them to relax, do what they need to do. It’s hard to do that because they’re anxious to show what they can do, but obviously, no one is going to make the football team in the next three days. It’s more of a learning experience for them and then see how they fit in once we get them with the whole group starting next week.” – Mike Munchak
It would seem that this has had a very positive effect on the rookies, which can only benefit the team as a whole.
“That’s real helpful when a head coach is talking to you and saying those kinds of things. If you make a mistake, make it full speed, and we can learn off it on film.” – Kendall Wright
“…when you’re learning new things, it’s tough to play as fast as you can because you’re thinking so much. He just gives you that confidence to go out there and cut it loose, and you may make mistakes, but as you go on, as long as you learn from your mistakes, that’s what it’s all about. A coach told me one time, ‘Never make the same mistake twice.’ That’s the thing I try to apply.” – Coty Sensabaugh
As the weeks progress, this draft class just seems to get better and better.
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