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VOL. 38 | NO. 37 | Friday, September 12, 2014

Titans are buying what new coaching staff is selling

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Titans cornerback Jason McCourty intercepts a pass intended for Kansas City’s Donnie Avery, a former Titan. McCourty had two interceptions in the season-opening road win after having none last year.

-- Ap Photo/Charlie Riedel

The Tennessee Titans did what few believed they could do when they went into Kansas City and dominated the Chiefs on Sunday.

And while one win is hardly enough for Titans fans to start making Super Bowl reservations, there is the sense that something is vastly different about this organization from the past few years.

What seems to be different about Ken Whisenhunt and his staff is that the players and everyone in the organization is buying in to what they are selling.

It’s early, and there will probably be plenty of bumps along the way. But the feeling going into last week and during preparations for this week’s home opener against the Cowboys is that there is a sense of focus and purpose and belief in what they were doing.

In previous years, it was often a poorly kept secret that players weren’t buying into the coaching staff.

It sometimes became public. Most often, it bubbled under the surface in the locker room. Players, for example, didn’t believe in the schemes run by former defensive coordinators like Chuck Cecil and Jerry Gray.

Two years ago, there was the mutiny against offensive coordinator Chris Palmer that forced Coach Mike Munchak’s to make a mid-season change.

But in this camp, preseason and in the first week of the regular season, one could feel the players’ belief in Whisenhunt’s offense and Ray Horton’s defense. And it showed in a dominating 26-10 against the Chiefs.

Perhaps it is because everything is still new that everyone believes in the new regime. But for the first time in a long time, one can sense everyone in the organization rowing in the same direction.

As tight end Taylor Thompson explained, the Titans have faith in themselves, faith in their coaches and they know the game plan, if executed correctly, will put them in position to win games.

Titans cornerback Jason McCourty intercepts a pass intended for Kansas City’s Donnie Avery, a former Titan. McCourty had two interceptions in the season-opening road win after having none last year.

“We had our game plan. We knew what we wanted to do and went in there and accomplished that,” he explains. “We went in there and did exactly what we talked about and came out with a W.

“We have a lot of confidence in what we can do and a lot of confidence in the coaches. It really helps to boost us into the season.”

For his part, Whisenhunt says it was important for the Titans to start the game and the season the way they did.

“It was important yesterday that we go into Kansas City and represent our team the way we did and play that kind of game. That was our expectation,” Whisenhunt says. “We felt like we were going to go in there, and that was the way we were going to perform. I don’t want to make too much of accomplishing what we set to do. That was our goal.

“I realize that it’s not something that you’re going to be able to do every week. There are going to be ups and downs, but we did what we thought we would do.”

While others on the outside professed little faith in the Titans’ chances, Whisenhunt had his team quietly confident in itself on game day.

“We had an opinion that was a little bit different than everybody else, and thankfully in this case, we were right. It would be hard to find anybody that gave us a chance of going in there and winning that game,” Whisenhunt says.

“The big thing is, we didn’t go in there with the idea that it’s us against the world, everybody button up, nobody’s picking us to win.

“We went in there with the idea that if we played football the way we’re supposed to, we can win the game. We knew it was going to be tough, and we did that, so that was a good thing.”

Terry McCormick covers the Titans for TitanInsider.com and is a blogger for National Football Post.

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