Titans outside linebacker Derrick Morgan on switching positions in a new scheme and trying to find the identity of a team without a playoff win in 11 years
The MMQB: When did you know you would be playing some outside linebacker this year in new defensive coordinator Ray Horton’s 3-4 defense?
MORGAN: When we hired (new head coach Ken) Whisenhunt, you just look at his track record—he was always a 3-4 guy. I had an inclination then. Around that time I was kind of wondering where I was gonna fit in with the new system. The coaches just reached out to my agent and wanted to give more insight as to what was gonna happen and where they see me fitting in. Then I started watching Cleveland’s defense because that was where Horton was last year. So I started watching their film, seeing what the outside 'backers were doing, where he had them playing. I was like, ‘Okay, I can do that.’ So I started focusing on that and it started with the install and it’s just been stepping stones and just building from Day 1 to now. It’s a continuing process.
The MMQB: Does standing up as a linebacker change your mentality as a player?
MORGAN: A little bit. It’s a little different because defensive line, you’re banging somebody every play. Your hand’s in the dirt, not really assessing what the formation is, playing down and distance and stuff like that. You’re more in your realm in the trenches. It’s a little different than actually standing up and looking at what the offense is coming out in formation-wise. It’s a different mindset. But at the end of the day, they’re still expecting me to get to the passer—not major in dropping back, but minor in it.
The MMQB: What’s going to be the identity of this Titans team?
MORGAN: I think we’re still establishing an identity. Right now we don’t really have an identity. Once we start winning consistently and start developing more of that, we’ll figure out who we are. But we know we have potential to do good things here. There’s always potential, but there’s something a little different about this year. The optimism level is a little bit higher. We haven’t won a playoff game since ‘03, so we’re trying to change the culture into more of a winning culture. There’s a lot of optimism going into the year.
— Dan Greene