Horton wants big runners and little hitters

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Titans defensive coordinator Ray Horton is a plain-spoken guy, and as Titans fans get to know him they are going to love his no-nonsense talk.

Thursday after the Titans wrapped up their final OTA, I was part of a wide-ranging conversation with him.

I was particularly struck by one element of that chat.

Asked about if he had enough of what he needs to run an effective defense, here’s what he said:

“Here are the two things I need: I need big men that will run, and if you guys watch us, we run all the time, and they have to finish to the ball, wherever that is. And then the other part is, I need little men that will hit, and that will show up in game day.

“If I have that, that’s all I need from these guys, I don’t need a height-weight-speed guy to fit this position or that position. I just need those two qualities and we’ll be fine.”

Obviously that comes on top of having football defaults of big guys who are strong and little guys who can run.

I appreciate the simplicity of an outlook like that one from Horton, and I suspect players do, too.

I read that to veteran linebacker Shaun Phillips and he said things like that are well received in the meeting room and locker room.

“He says that to throw the bait out there so we can take it the right way," Phillips said. "He wants us to interpret it, to be tough, to be fast, to be physical, to be strong. He doesn’t have to raise his voice. He tells it exactly like it is, he’s played the game, he’s coached at a high level, Super Bowls. He tells you what he wants and your job is to be a man and be a professional and get the job done.

“He does a great job of telling you exactly what he wants done.”