New coordinator streamlines options for Titans
When new offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains calls a play for the Tennessee offense, the Titans face much simpler decisions at the line of scrimmage.
It's all by design.
Loggains met with some of his fellow coaches during the offseason as he compiled his first playbook. He put in plenty of rushing plays with coach Mike Munchak wanting a run-oriented offense, but Loggains also streamlined options in the passing game to help the Titans play much faster.
Training camp has just begun, but the Titans like what they see so far.
''There's less gray area in a lot of phases of our offense, and now it's about go play fast,'' Munchak said.
The Titans certainly must be better offensively if they are to improve on last year's 6-10 record. No NFL team spent less time on the field than Tennessee with just 27 minutes, 18 seconds per game in 2012. The Titans also ranked 26th with 313.1 total yards per game and 22nd with 207.7 yards passing.
Munchak fired coordinator Chris Palmer after the Titans became the first team to lose to Jacksonville last season, and Loggains filled in for the final five games. Munchak gave the coordinator job to Loggains this offseason.
This is the first time around as coordinator for Loggains, who turns 33 in October. But he has studied under coaches like Houston Nutt and Sean Payton as a scouting assistant in Dallas in 2005, and coordinators Norm Chow, the late Mike Heimerdinger and Palmer over the past five seasons in Tennessee.
The five-game tryout certainly gave Loggains the opportunity to make some mistakes with the pressure eased trying to work within Palmer's playbook. The Titans went 2-3 down the stretch.
''There was definitely things I learned from,'' Loggains said Saturday before practice. ''I don't know if I'd call them mistakes but definitely things in situations I learned from and I learned every day.''
Loading the playbook with run plays is easy with Chris Johnson at running back and a mobile Jake Locker at quarterback. The bigger challenge is the passing game where both the quarterback and receivers faced plenty of options in which routes they could run after the ball was snapped.
Kendall Wright, who learned Palmer's playbook as a rookie a year ago, said he enjoyed learning Loggains' playbook.
''Oh yeah, everything Dowell's put in is just helping us play faster without thinking a lot,'' Wright said. ''Whatever he calls, it's easier to learn. I mean we're running at a fast tempo, no thinking at all. Just running to where we're supposed to be and running the route we're supposed to do.''
Asked about the differences, Locker was diplomatic and called it a different style. But knowing exactly where his receivers should help the quarterback's timing.
''You play your best and you play your fastest when you're confident and you have a really good understanding of what you're doing, and that's what I feel like I have,'' Locker said of this system.
The tempo is showing in camp, but the first test will come Aug. 8 when the Titans host Washington in the preseason opener and then Sept. 8 when the season opens at Pittsburgh.
Loggains said he faces the same pressure he puts on the players each day to grow and improve.
''Never make the same mistake twice,'' Loggains said. ''We're all going to make mistakes, but I put a lot of pressure on myself to do that. No. 1 we're putting guys in situations to succeed and guys get to have opportunities to touch the ball and do well.''
If anyone tries to do too much or freelance at the line of scrimmage, Loggains said he has the example from Tom Moore, who spent the final month of the season with the Titans last year. Loggains said Moore constantly reminded Peyton Manning when they worked together not to get bored, trust the system and don't start eliminating anything.
''Keep out all the mental clutter,'' Loggains said.
Notes: Rookie OL Brian Schwenke did not finish practice after trying to play with a sore left hamstring. A trainer stretched him out, and Schwenke got ice wrapped around his leg before going into the locker room early. Munchak said he may be back by Tuesday night. ... The first skirmish of camp occurred when WR Michael Preston took issue with S Michael Griffin slinging down Nate Washington, and Griffin said he wound up throwing the first punch. Up to 20 Titans ran over to the fight just in front of fans at a fence before it was broken up. ''I think it was more just the little guys trying to look tough,'' Munchak said. ... Munchak had no update on talks with RG Chance Warmack, the No. 10 draft selection overall, who remains unsigned. Warmack now has missed three days of camp.
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