New Tennessee coach Ken Whisenhunt has seen the Titans work hard this offseason. Now he’ll find out how they manage themselves during the five weeks before training camp.
The Titans, who got a two-week jump because of a new coach, wrapped up their offseason program Thursday with the final day of a three-day minicamp. Whisenhunt shortened the planned 65-minute workout by 20 minutes and reminded players to be careful until they return July 25 for training camp.
”As a coach in your first year with the team, you’re never where you want to be,” Whisenhunt said. ”But I think as far as establishing a way that we work and from an installation perspective, I think we got a lot done. But the point we emphasized to the group today was when we come back it’s going to be tough. We really got to pick it up and get going.”
This is a franchise that hasn’t reached the playoffs since 2008 and hasn’t won a postseason game since January 2003. Whisenhunt was hired after Mike Munchak went 7-9 in 2013 in his third season.
The biggest issue this offseason was Jake Locker returning from a Lisfranc injury to his right foot. The quarterback missed nine games last year because of injuries, but he didn’t miss a single session on the field. That’s allowed Locker to soak up Whisenhunt’s new offense, his third in four NFL seasons.
”I feel with a majority of the stuff that we’ve put in I can call it and I can see it before I get to the line of scrimmage,” Locker said Tuesday.
The Titans also will take their team-issued iPads loaded with the playbook and video from practices. That’s new for this franchise with players having to turn in playbooks bound in notebooks a year ago, leaving only their personal notes to check before camp. Tight end Delanie Walker said now they can check the iPad anywhere.
”I think that’s going to give us a step above other teams,” Walker said.
Right guard Chance Warmack plans to spend four weeks in Arizona working with former NFL offensive lineman LeCharles Bentley and will be checking the iPad often as he works to improve. He already has been studying during commercial breaks while watching television at night.
”Last year it was kind of frustrating knowing you could only look at the notes you put on your notebook after OTAs (organized team activities) and minicamps were over with, but now you can actually go over the plays in the iPad as well as look at the film pointing out little tidbits you might need to look at and work on,” Warmack said.
Whisenhunt also made the conditioning test the Titans must take at the start of training camp very clear, and it will include running 300 yards in 25-yard stretches with a time limit. Whisenhunt said he used to get pit in his stomach as a player himself knowing that loomed, prompting him to work harder each summer.
Running back Dexter McCluster plans to run that drill every couple days, timing himself until he’s confident before asking someone else to time him.
”So when I come here I know I got it,” McCluster said.
Notes: Left tackle Taylor Lewan is the only rookie draft pick still unsigned, but the 11th pick overall is expected to be signed before camp opens. … Walker did not practice Thursday resting a sore neck. … The Titans released tight end David Wright and signed receiver/tight end Dorin Dickerson who was with the Titans during this minicamp. Whisenhunt said they see the 6-foot-1 Dickerson, a three-year veteran, more as a tight end like Walker.