NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Not every coach has to have played in the NFL to have success, and not every coach who had a good career as a player makes a good coach.
Count Tennessee Titans defensive backs coach Deshea Townsend among those who think his ability to coach is enhanced by playing experience.
“My job is to make sure that they understand what to do and how to do it and to get it out of them,” Townsend told me. “I think that’s the biggest thing of how can I relate, how can I push them to be the best player they can be. That’s a coach’s job.
“When they see me say it, I think they are going to know that I mean what I say. Not because I’m saying what the textbook says, but because I believe and know that it works.”
Townsend played 13 seasons, 12 with the Steelers. He worked in 191 regular season and 14 playoff games and was part of two Super Bowl winners.
He was assistant defensive backs coach for Ken Whisenhunt with the Arizona Cardinals in 2011-12 and coached cornerbacks at Mississippi State the last three seasons.
Having his own room with the Bulldogs allowed him to grow as a coach, serving as a teacher and a resource for many players who never had a position-specific coach before.
He’s a Dick LeBeau disciple and has extensive knowledge of the Titans' assistant head coach/defensive coordinator’s scheme from playing in it and coaching it.
“There won’t be a mistake that I haven’t made, that I can see them about to go through and help them get out of,” he said. “I was in the same defense for 12 years and then coaching it in Arizona. A lot of little things you don’t get from the Xs and Os off the paper I can bring to the table.
“Also the ability to get guys motivated to play, to bring that mindset that Coach [Mike] Mularkey is going to bring of being physical, being tough. I’ve seen that work, I know that works because that’s how we played, that’s how I played.”