One of the catch phrases going around Saint Thomas Sports Park with the Tennessee Titans is to change from being good to being great.
In order for the Titans defense to reach that level, the primary upgrade they need is in their pass rush. Tennessee had 39 sacks last season, but no one player stood out as a leader in that category. Interior defensive lineman Jurrell Casey led the Titans with seven sacks, while nickel linebacker Jayon Brown was next at six.
The player the Titans hope make a difference in the pass rush is second-year pro Harold Landry, who had 4.5 sacks as a rookie in 2018.
Landry not only accepts the challenge of being the playmaker the Titans need on the edge – he welcomes and expects to be a disruptor in the defense.
“I have higher expectations for myself than anybody. I expect myself to be a game changer – a playmaker out there on the field where guys can look at me and not say, ‘Oh, he can just get the job done,’ I want to get the job done and be able to make plays, and create turnovers and help the defense out to get our offense as many chances as possible,” Landry said.
To that end, Landry came naturally equipped with the speed and the bend needed to be a successful NFL pass rusher. But to reach that goal, he needs to add more moves to his arsenal and to get stronger. He is working at both, now playing at 255 pounds after admitting that he played at less than 250 pounds for most of his rookie season.
“I’ve definitely gotten a lot stronger since last year which is only going to help me rolling off the ball and striking,” Landry said.
As for the counter moves to the speed rush, one of the things the Titans coaching staff did in cut-ups for Landry in the off-season was to put on his iPad plays and pass rush moves made by some of the league’s top sack artists so that Landry to study and practice them and then incorporate them into his own game.
“The coaching staff did a great job putting in film of Khalil Mack, Von (Mller) and Dee Ford so I could watch them and start incorporating their moves into my game. (I watch them) on my iPad and then going out and executing it on the field,” Landry said.
Coach Mike Vrabel has high hopes that the 2018 second-round pick that the Titans mortgaged other draft picks to move up and select can justify that with his play in year two.
“I have high hopes for Harold. I have high expectations for everybody, for our defense. Having worked him out going all the way back to before the draft, and spending a lot of time with him, again, that’s the vision that we have for him. That’s why he’s here, to try to help us,” Vrabel said.
Out of practice
Rookie wide receiver A.J. Brown left the field after individual and stretch work and did not come back out for team periods on Tuesday.
There was some speculation and reports that Brown might have tweaked his hamstring or suffered some sort of leg injury.
Also not practicing on Tuesday were kicker Ryan Succop, tackles Taylor Lewan and Jack Conklin, tight end Jonnu Smith and defensive linemen Jurrell Casey and Jeffery Simmons.
Tight end Delanie Walker (leg) and cornerbacks Logan Ryan (leg) and Adoree’ Jackson (ankle) again went through individual periods but did not take part in team drills.