Dick LeBeau looking forward to ‘great challenge’ with Titans’ defense

Tennessee Titans assistant head coach/defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau said Thursday he’s excited to have the opportunity to continue his work with the Titans’ defense in 2016.

LeBeau, who served as Tennessee’s assistant head coach/defense in 2015, takes over the coordinator role from Ray Horton, who accepted the same position with the Cleveland Browns.

After 57 years in the NFL as a player and a coach, LeBeau knew he didn’t want to retire and said Tennessee’s decision to retain Mike Mularkey as head coach helped reaffirm his desire to remain with the Titans.

Via Tennessee’s official website:

“I talked to some people, but I was never going to go anywhere if I could come back here,’’ LeBeau said “I have respect for Mike. We worked together in Pittsburgh, and he’s an excellent coach. But I also like our players, the way they work, the way they fought through a tough situation last year.

As he takes over the coordinator role from Horton, LeBeau says he plans to implement some changes to a unit that finished 12th in the NFL in total defense.

“We changed significantly (last year), and I think next year we are going to change even more. We are definitely going to be a little different,’’ LeBeau said. “I think the players responded well to the new stuff, and I think it’s good to have new stuff in so teams that know you well, especially your divisional opponents, they are going to have to prepare for different things. It’s not the same old, same old.

“There were a lot of ideas we didn’t have time to implement last year, and we can do that now.”

The 78-year LeBeau said he remains as energized as ever by the challenge of helping turn the things around in Tennessee.

“I am probably as excited for this season as any I can remember. It is a great challenge, but I know the personnel so much better, and the players know me so much better. We are going to continue to grow together,’’ LeBeau said.

While he’s enjoying himself, LeBeau said a few more victories next season would be nice as well.

“I like Tennessee a lot. I really love being here,’’ LeBeau said. “We just have to win more games and that will make it even better.”