DB coach Cioffi won't be rigid on technique

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Tennessee Titans' secondary was the team's best position group in 2013.

Under new defensive coordinator Ray Horton and new defensive backs coach Louie Cioffi, the holdovers will play less zone and more man, less Cover 2 and more single-high and three-deep, Cioffi told The Midday 180 in Nashville on Thursday.

He said he’s excited about the size and speed throughout the group.

And while he will have technique he teaches, he’s not going to force good players to change things that have worked for them.

“Like everyone else, I have a starting point that I like, certain techniques that I like,” Cioffi said. “If it’s working for a player, I’m not someone that is going to make rigid, wholesale changes. You just try to tweak things, maybe get him that much better. But I’m not someone that’s going to come in and say ‘Hey, you have to do it exactly like this because that’s how I want it done.’ I have found that that did not work.”

Last year’s team had a very distinct free safety (Michael Griffin) and strong safety (Bernard Pollard).

Griffin said last week he’s been told he won’t play as far away from the ball at the snap as he did last season. Cioffi said that amounts to just a small technique critique.

Overall, he hopes his two safeties are able to do the things required of each position.

“In today’s game, these guys have got to be versatile,” Cioffi said. “The game has changed. Fullbacks are not as involved. You get a lot more one-back and three-wide receiver sets. So the safeties have to be able to adapt and cover and move around in space, so we like to have our guys do a little bit of both.

“We don’t like to pigeonhole guys and say, ‘Hey, you are the strong and you are the free’ because obviously [offenses] change with formation and motion. So we’ll try to get them in the best situations and try to implement what they do best. But there are going to be times when they are going to have to do a little bit of both.”