Titans: Seven-on-seven now seven-on-eight

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Seven-on-seven is a standard football drill.

The quarterback and his five eligible receivers (joined by an equipment guy serving as the center) take on the back end of the defense.

The offensive and defensive linemen are elsewhere. It's a pass-rushless passing period.

But seven-on-seven, while still the spirit of the words, is not an accurate game any longer. In the Titans’ new 3-4 defense, there are four linebackers to go with four defensive backs.

It’s seven-on-eight.

It was the same Monday in Atlanta, where the Falcons are also shifting from a 4-3 to a 3-4 defense.

“In 3-4, there is always an assumed rusher [out of those eight]," coach Ken Whisenhunt said. "So they’re not dropping eight. If they are, we’re going to start running draws.”

Veteran backup quarterback Charlie Whitehurst said even with that presumed rusher, the name of the drill is now a misnomer.

“One of those guys is rushing, you’re going to get a four-man rush,” Whitehurst said. "It’s not like they are dropping eight against our five receivers every time. I think that’s the beauty of the 3-4. It stands another guy up that you’ve got to account for. It’s kind of another element to pass protection and in coverage you can do more stuff out of it.

“They do drop eight sometimes, usually take your stuff away down the field, and you’ve got to be proficient with the backs and stuff.”