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Titans use improv to create game-day atmosphere

The SportsXchange

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Tennessee Titans don't know exactly how all the pieces will fit together yet in 2013.

But they are rapidly finding out who goes where and what has to be done to right a team that finished 6-10 last season. Not only are there 20-plus new players between free agents and draft picks, but also there were several changes made on the coaching staff to bring a different dynamic to the mix.

As the Titans opened their minicamp to wind up nine weeks of offseason work, coach Mike Munchak decided it was time to see exactly where his club is in terms of readying for training camp.

Rather than use a scripted practice and periods of work both individually and in team settings, theTitans took a good portion of the minicamp to work in a simulated game situation.

They had no scripted plays, only a pool of plays for the quarterbacks and offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains to choose from, depending upon the down-and-distance and the personnel on the field.

Ditto for the defense, which tried to match up in similar play-call situations against the offense. And when it got to fourth down, the punt team got its work in.

"I thought it was good for everyone, the coaching staff, the players, to put them in situations where they weren't quite sure what was going to be called," Munchak said. "In the meetings, we'll probably stress more what each other's tendencies were with different plays we were going to run."

That same approach continued Wednesday. The Titans close out their offseason work on Thursday. Munchak indicated the goal was to create a game-like situation. There were even high school and college officials on hand to call penalties and rule on things like receptions.

"We talked about that when the season ended, during the offseason with the staff, about doing more of that. That's as good for the coaches as anybody. It makes them have to think and attack each other," Munchak said. "That way we're not pre-planning everything we're doing out here and scripting everything. Once we got everything installed and spent the first nine OTA days of getting everything in, it gave us a good understanding of what we were doing. You can't tackle, but this is as close as you can get to playing real football."

Titans quarterback Jake Locker, who is at the center of the Titans' revamping of the offense to tailor things to his skill set, liked the simulated game setting.

"For coaches and players, it's similar to a game, where it's not scripted out," Locker said. "You have a list of plays that could possibly be called, but you've got to execute and know a larger amount, and I'm excited about that."

Some of the game was fast forwarded to allow specific types of work, such as red zone, goal line and short yardage.

"I thought we did well. We came out and I thought we made some big plays. Consistently we were able to get big plays and positive yards," Locker said.

On one play he had an intermediate pass to Kendall Wright turn into a touchdown when the receiver beat rookie cornerback Blidi Wreh-Wilson. On another play, Kenny Britt made a circus catch.

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