Like the rest of the world, the NFL is getting more technologically savvy every day.
But for Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Mularkey, there is still a place for the old school approach.
While Titans players have team-assigned iPads to use in offensive and defensive meetings, Mularkey said that his players had better have something else with them when they enter meeting rooms during this off-season program as well – a notepad and a pen.
“You hope you don’t have to tell them that. You hope they already know to bring a pen and a pad to take some notes on,” Mularkey said. “iPads are great, but they’re difficult to take notes on.”
Mularkey has been for a long time interested in see just how much guys are absorbing. One of his policies implemented last year and in his past stops as head coach in Buffalo and Jacksonville has been to confiscate the notes of his practice squad players at the end of the week to make sure they have immersed themselves in the game plan – even if they won’t be part of it on Sunday.
Pro Bowl defensive lineman Jurrell Casey said the note-taking is not something to take lightly, and that it is the mark of a professional to take extensive notes. He likes that Mularkey has stressed that in a way that some past coaches have not in the Titans’ meeting rooms.
“When you come in this meeting room, you’d better bring your pen and paper and take your notes that you’re supposed to be taking,” Casey said. “A lot of times you’d come in and guys would just have their playbooks. You can learn from your playbook outside the room, but a you need those hard copy notes to really know the details of what the work is. I think that was the biggest thing – guys being professional and being pros in this locker room.”
Likewise, cellphones are also to be left off during all meetings, a policy that many head coaches subscribe to.
“We don’t want phones anywhere. That’s just too hard to keep their hands off it,” Mularkey said. “I have two sons that I’m shocked when they don’t pick up the phone, because I know it’s glued to their hands. We want attention when they’re here. Again, it’s voluntary, but we’re gonna work when they’re here.”
While players are allowed to bring the team-issued iPads into the offensive and defensive meeting rooms, veteran special teams coach Bobby April doesn’t even allow that, according to Mularkey.
“Bobby doesn’t want any electronics in here. He wants guys doing it the old way, writing it down, and paying attention,” Mularkey said. “Don’t even bring them in here. In today’s age, there’s no way they cannot be tempted to open up that iPad.”