NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- We’re going to be learning about how the Tennessee Titans' revamped front seven works well into the season, and the team isn’t eager to offer a lot of hints about responsibilities.
This week I set about finding out just how different and just how similar the two outside linebacker spots will be.
Will we see a strongside outside linebacker and a weakside outside linebacker who will flip sides depending on where an offense puts a tight end? Will one of the outside guys wind up with more coverage responsibilities than the other?
Coaches say all the outside linebackers need to be able to rush, stop the run and play in coverage. Certainly the team will play to strengths, however. Akeem Ayers hasn’t played very well in space since he’s been with the Titans. Derrick Morgan is a 4-3 defensive end moving to outside linebacker who has never been asked to drop into coverage.
The strongest and clearest answer about the roles of the outside backers came from Kamerion Wimbley, who is back at the position after a couple years miscast as a 4-3 end.
“I think a lot of our stuff is based on how the offense lines up and where the ball is spotted,” he said. “At our position we really have to know both sides. So (if we need to flip sides) it’s possible. I think we’re just in the position we’re in now, no one is really set in anything. I don’t think there are set sides, it depends on who’s in.
“Right now we’re just going through reps, we’re right and left. All of the linebackers really have to know both sides. It’s the mirror technique. Pretty much you’re playing the same assignments depending on the formation. I believe we’re all capable of playing both sides.”