Titans DBs mesh Alpha personalities into cohesive unit

Titans DBs mesh Alpha personalities into cohesive unit

Just like any other workplace, there are multiple personalities that make up an NFL locker room.
But one position where leadership, a dominant personality and a certain swagger is a prerequisite for success is in the defensive backfield.
Whether it is Kevin Byard’s vibrant personality, the veteran presences of free agent acquisitions like Logan Ryan and Kenny Vaccaro or the on-field fiesty demeanor of Malcolm Butler, there is no shortage of leads to follow in the room.
Simply put, timid cornerback and shy safeties seem to be in short supply in the NFL. But with so many Type A personalities in one room, how does it mesh together to make for a cohesive unit, rather than one that is dysfunctional.
The key, says Byard, one of the Titans’ biggest Alpha dogs, is that while the secondary room has plenty of would-be leaders, there is no room for selfishness.
“I think from the very jump when I got here, we might have a lot of Alphas in the room, but our egos are set aside,” Vaccaro said. “Kevin likes to talk. Logan likes to talk. Malcolm has that Alpha mentality on the field, but he doesn’t talk that much. Adoree’, he’s a lot more quiet than people think. Me, I just let my play (do the talking). I’ll talk every once in a while if I have to. It’s like a group of Alpha wolves all living together.”
The key, according to Byard, is that the players might have swagger, but there is no room for selfishness.
“We’re not selfish. At the end of the day, we all want to make plays, but we’re just as happy if another guy makes a play,” Byard explained. “If Kenny makes a play, I’m just as happy as if I had made a play. That meshes well in our room. We don’t have any selfish players. Everybody just wants to win a championship. Can’t no one player win a championship. It’s going to take all of us.”
Defensive backs coach Kerry Coombs said the players play off each other’s strengths and weaknesses on the field and in the classroom.
“It just happens. They all know each other’s strengths and weaknesses and they talk openly with one another,” Coombs said. “Sometimes, we have a smaller group and we can just talk openly with one another about specific things, and it’s very interesting to see how each of them has their own input. Mike (Vrabel) talks a lot about making the defense not just the lines on the page, but taking that and making it your own. They’re really good at that.”
As far as the Alpha personalities, Vrabel said that the nature of the position almost requires that type of personality, and that it is incumbent upon coaches to blend those into the right mix.
“It’s pro sports, that’s how it goes. They all figure it out. There’s a chance for them to help, and I think that there’s a unique balance by coaching those guys. DB coaches in the NFL, they don’t have an easy job,” Vrabel pointed out. “These guys are confident, they’re strong-willed, smart and intelligent. That’s how we want them. We have to continue to coach them, and you want them to be able to take the coaching. Then as players, I think that they – you all figure it out. There’s enough meat on the bone for everybody to kind of figure out their place and their role on the defense or on our team.”

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