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All-Pro safety Kevin Byard believes it doesn’t get much better for he and his Titans teammates: First learning from defensive
coordinator Dick LeBeau and now Dean Pees.
”Just having two legends as coaches on the defense David Andrews Jersey , man, I was blessed,” Byard said.
Now, what the Titans’ defense with look like under Pees, that remains somewhat a mystery. Neither Pees nor the Titans are sharing many, if any,
details right now. Oh, there’s been talk of showing different looks on the
defensive line and being consistent in coverages.
But that’s about as much as Pees is willing to share.
”I’d like to be more little more precise, but I really don’t want to talk about scheme particularly and what we’re doing,” Pees said Wednesday when asked
about coverage consistency.
The Titans made a change from Mike Mularkey to first-timer Mike Vrabel as head coach in January mostly to get more production from an offense led by young
quarterback Marcus Mariota. Even though the Titans were the AFC’s best against
the run and allowed a league-fewest five touchdowns rushing and tied for fifth
in sacks, they still have plenty of room for improvement on defense.
Maybe because the Titans were so good against the run, they faced more passes than any other defense in the NFL. They also gave up the most first downs
through the air last season. The Titans ranked 25th defending the
pass Trevor Siemian Jersey , giving up 239.3 yards per game, and 17th in points allowed. Despite Byard intercepting eight passes, Tennessee finished with 12
interceptions overall – tied for 18th in the league.
With Pees last season, Baltimore ranked 12th in yards allowed per game. The Ravens led the NFL with 22 interceptions and also tied for 10th against the pass
giving up 213.8 yards per game.
Pees, 68, has spent the last 14 of his 45 years as a coach in the NFL. But he hasn’t talked with LeBeau, someone he’s always admired and wanted to have a
relationship with as a coach. The new Titans coordinator has been busy learning
his new players and installing his defensive schemes with a little more than
third installed as of Wednesday.
Outside linebacker Derrick Morgan, now on his fifth head-coach with this franchise, said the defense remains primarily a 3-4 base. Each coach uses
different language to describe plays, and Morgan said learning that is the
”Once we get across that barrier and kind of on the same communication lines, I think we’ll be fine,” Morgan said. ”It’s a different scheme from what LeBeau
ran here Mitchell Schwartz Jersey , but you know it’s football at the end of the day. So you’ve just got to get the concepts, get the philosophy and understand what
we’re trying to accomplish on the field.”
Byard echoed Morgan’s comments.
”We’re not creating a new Cover 2 or Cover 3 or anything like that,” Byard said. ”It’s just we’re trying to execute at a high level man. DP just brought a
great defense, and I think we’re trying to execute it at a high level.”
Titans drafted linebackers Rashaan Evans and Harold Landry , additions linebacker Brian Orakpo welcomes. Pees has a reputation for being creative in
trying to free up pass rushers to get to the quarterback, and the four-time Pro
Bowl linebacker said they’ve already seen some of that.
”Guys getting freed up, guys getting one-on-ones,” Orakpo said. ”You see me and Morgan flip-flopping that you’re normally not used to seeing. Just trying to
get advantages across the board. We’re just going to keep taking it day by day
and see what happens.”
After all, the Titans’ season doesn’t start until Sept. 9 in Miami.
Notes: Vrabel said he told the Titans on Wednesday morning that the team and controlling owner Amy Adams Strunk will support players on making a decision on
the national anthem when the time comes. Pro Bowl tight end Delanie Walker said
that’s not a decision that has to be made until September.
Odubel Herrera smiled when told he was being compared to Ichiro Suzuki and Vladimir Guerrero. He has potential to be known by his first name just like
Ichiro and Vlad, too.
Herrera hit a tiebreaking, solo homer in the seventh inning, Cesar Hernandez hit a two-run homer and the Philadelphia Phillies beat the St. Louis Cardinals
4-3 Wednesday to win their third straight series.
”What he’s doing is special Morgan Cox Jersey ,” manager Gabe Kapler said, adding that Herrera reminds him of Suzuki. ”It’s elite.”
Herrera is batting .419 (13 for 31) with two doubles, five homers and eight RBI in the last seven games.
”He’s a different breed,” starter Jake Arrieta said before mentioning Guerrero’s name with Herrera. ”When he gets hot, he’s fun to watch.”
Herrera had a tough stretch after an excellent start before finding his stroke again.
”It’s very satisfying to be compared to two legends,” he said.
Yadier Molina hit a pair of homers for the Cardinals, who lost starter Michael Wacha to injury.
Philadelphia’s beleaguered bullpen tossed three scoreless innings after Arrieta had another so-so outing, giving up both of Molina’s homers. Edubray
Ramos (2-0) got five outs and Adam Morgan retired the last two batters with the
tying run on second for his first career save.
”It was cool to go out there and succeed,” Morgan said.
The Phillies took two of three to win a series against the Cardinals for the first time since August 2014.
Arrieta gave up three runs and four hits in six innings to remain winless in June after posting a 0.90 ERA in five starts in May. Arrieta, who is earning $30
million this season as part of a three-year, $75 million contract, has a 6.97
ERA in four starts this month.
Wacha left in the fourth with a left oblique strain. The right-hander allowed three runs – one earned – and six hits in 3 2/3 innings. He’ll have an MRI on
”Feeling a little bit better Caleb Sturgis Jersey ,” Wacha said. ”I’m hoping for the best.”
Herrera ripped a 91 mph slider from Sam Tuivailala (1-3) off the scoreboard on the facing of the second deck in right field to give the Phillies a 4-3 lead.
Herrera has a homer in four straight games.
Pinch hitter Jedd Gyorko hit a one-out double off Victor Arano in the ninth. Morgan entered to get Matt Carpenter on a foul pop and Tommy Pham on a
Molina drove a 3-2 pitch the opposite-way into the seats in right-center for his fifth career multihomer game in the sixth to tie it at 3.
A throwing error by Carpenter led to a pair of unearned runs in the fourth. Jorge Alfaro reached with one out when Carpenter’s throw pulled first baseman
Jose Martinez off the bag. With two outs, Hernandez lined a 1-2 change-up to the
seats in right for a 3-1 lead.
The Phillies took a 1-0 lead in the first after Rhys Hoskins hit a single, advanced to third on Herrera’s double and scored on Carlos Santana’s sacrifice
Molina crushed Arrieta’s first pitch in the second inning to left to tie it at 1.
Wacha worked out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the third by striking out Scott Kingery and retiring Nick Williams on a bouncer.
Seven of Herrera’s 12 homers have given Philadelphia a lead.
PHILLIES: INF J.P. Crawford was placed on the 10-day disabled list after breaking his hand Tuesday night. INF Mitch Walding was recalled from Triple-A
Lehigh Valley to replace him. … Williams returned to the lineup after he broke
his nose in the field on Monday night.
Cardinals: RHP Carlos Martinez (3-3, 2.73 ERA) takes the mound for the start of a four-game set at Milwaukee. He’s 6-4, 1.95 vs. the Brewers.
Phillies: After a day off, RHP Zach Eflin (4-2, 3.43 ERA) starts the opener of a three-game series at Washington on Friday night. Eflin has never faced the
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