Correa's Return Includes a Notable Difference
NASHVILLE – Kamalei Correa ultimately decided not to change teams.
Still, things will be different.
For the first time in his NFL career, the 25-year-old (he will turn 26 later this month) outside linebacker will not have Dean Pees as his coordinator.
The Tennessee Titans acquired Correa in a trade shortly before the start of the 2018 regular season, Pees’ first in charge of their defense. His familiarity with the system was part of the appeal that prompted Tennessee to make the move. Correa had played the previous two years in Baltimore, where Pees, who retired following the 2019 season, was defensive coordinator at the time.
Thursday, the Titans formally announced that they have agreed to contract terms with Correa (the pact is for one year) although general manager Jon Robinson revealed a little more than a week earlier that the sides had come together on a deal.
Without Pees, though, 2020 will be an adjustment for every member of the defense. Tennessee has not named new a defensive coordinator but did hire long-time defensive assistant Jim Haslett to be inside linebackers coach.
“Still, obviously, processing a lot of that information, and the role that I want to play,” coach Mike Vrabel said about the structure of the defensive staff. “I love our staff, I’m excited about our staff, our conversations in the morning to get the playbook exactly how we want it, find out what we did well and continue to do that. What we needed, what we don’t need, how much is too much in the book. That’s kind of what we’re doing now.”
In bringing back Correa, the Titans get a guy whose understanding of what was in the old playbook peaked late last season. He set career-highs with 37 tackles and five sacks in 2019, the vast majority of which (25 tackles, all five sacks) came in the second half of the season. He played in all 16 games with five starts and then started all three postseason contests.
“He played some really good football for us down the stretch,” Robinson said.
Now, he will get the chance to do it again. Under different circumstances.