Titans' Ayers knows he's got to do more

Talk Titans 2011 rookie performance, and it starts with Colin McCarthy. The middle linebacker was fantastic as he took over the job for an injured Barrett Ruud and put a stranglehold on it.

Run stuffing Jurrell Casey and team sack leader Karl Klug come next. The defensive tackle duo impressed its their first season.

Second-rounder Akeem Ayers was expected to be way more impactful than any of those guys. While his rookie year was hardly a bust, the 16-game starter at strongside linebacker was pretty quiet in stretches.

“I know I did some good things,” he told Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean. “But I am my harshest critic, and I feel like I could’ve done a lot better. I feel like I could’ve impacted games more than I did. But I can take positives in that I know what I can work on, and that is why this offseason is so important to me.

“I am real motivated about what I want to do. And when I get back, I want to hit the ground running.”

Wyatt reports Ayers is already making strides in work with his trainer. And he’s doing something that’s got to be close to impossible for anyone driving around in Southern California -- curtailing stops at In-and-Out Burger.

The Titans plan for him to be more of a pass-rush presence moving forward. It’s a good plan, and he sounds determined to be ready to execute it. If he makes a jump and the other three defenders from the class of 2011 make contributions the same or better, the Titans will have a nice, young core for their front seven and can worry about a lot of other stuff.