Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky
DeMarcus Faggins, known widely as Petey, was rarely at his locker after Titans OTA sessions.
In the early days of camp I finally tracked him down, and had a chance to ask him about the differences between Houston, where he spent his first seven years, and Tennessee, where he signed as a free agent during the offseason.
His answer hit on a topic that could be an issue for the Texans as they look to breakthrough, surpass 8-8 and get into the playoffs.
"Right now in this locker room, it's a lot more laid back -- players, coaches, the organization. In Houston, it's a little bit tense. I don't know if that's good or bad, but being there seven years, I experienced a lot. We were just trying to get a win, make the playoffs and do things like that for the first time that had never been done.
"Coming here after the season they had last year, it's pretty laid back. There is a been-there, done-that confidence, that's a good feeling coming off 13-3. ... I think it's harder to play tense, it's like walking on egg shells. You never know when it's going to break down on you or you're really not concentrating on what you've got to do, you're worrying too much about what a coach is going to say, if you're going to lose your position or your spot. If you go out there and just play relaxed and the coaches are relaxed instead of yelling and cussing, they come in and let you know what you did wrong and what the results can be if you do it right."
Faggins was part of the Texans' secondary problems last year, a player teams like the Titans may have targeted if given the chance. But the Titans believe he has skills better suited for playing off and in zone rather than trying to jam and play man the way the Texans prefer.
They signed him because they are unsure about their depth at corner after the free-agent defections of Eric King (Detroit) and Chris Carr (Baltimore), but if he's out played by youngsters Cary Williams, Ryan Mouton and/or Jason McCourty he might not stick.
If those kids don't flash and indicate they'd be ready if needed, Faggins is the veteran security blanket.
Defensive backs coach Marcus Robertson has been working with Faggins on his backpedal.
"Backpedalling is like a lost form or art," Robertson said. "What we try to do is minimize wasted motion, wasted steps or false steps in the secondary so we can put ourselves in position to make plays. So one thing we're working on with Petey is just trying to keep him in the backpedal. A lot of cornerbacks these days get into a shuffle-shuffle technique and in doing that they don't allow themselves to be able to make plays on all the different angles that come out of the route tree."
Faggins said he feels like he's making the necessary changes.
"It's not hard to change, it's just something you've got to work on in order to get better," he said. "Coming from Houston, we just always did press, no matter what the call was. It's just getting out of that and getting comfortable playing off. ... There are still things I need to work on of course, but compared to when I first got here, I've gotten much better."