NASHVILLE – Vic Beasley has been an outsider from the moment he signed with the Tennessee Titans.
His position coach, however, remains confident that the free agent outside linebacker will fit in – once he shows up, of course.
“New guys – whoever they are, whether it’s Vic or anybody else – I think we’ve got a good culture established here from [general manager] Jon Robinson and Coach [Mike] Vrabel, from the top down, in terms of what we’re looking for and what we want from this team,” outside linebackers coach Shane Bowen said in a video press conference Friday. “… I think our culture, as a team and as a defensive unit, if you ain’t a hard worker, it’s probably not going to work out too well. I think a lot of guys conform. … They are going to fit into our culture, and it’s kind of the expectation level here.”
Beasley remains on the Reserve-Did Not Report list, a designation placed on him Tuesday when he was the only Titans veteran who did not show for the start of training camp. Thursday, Robinson released a statement in which he said Beasley had informed him he would arrive “in the near future.”
The 28-year-old who spent five years with Atlanta and in 2016 led the NFL with 15 1/2 sacks, is one of seven outside linebackers on the current roster. The other six spent all or part of last season with Tennessee. That group includes Harold Landry, 2019 draft pick D’Andre Walker and Reggie Gilbert, acquired in a trade at the start of the regular season.
“All the other guys have been here. So, we’re trying to kind of expand from 100 level learning to 200 level learning, so to speak,” Bowen said. “So, [we thought] in terms of being able to expand their horizons a little bit whereas Vic was starting out from ground zero in terms of our defense. There was probably a little bit more one-on-one [with Beasley] than even group work.”
It did not help that those meetings took place virtually due to offseason limitations implemented to minimize exposure during the COVID-19 pandemic. That meant Beasley was not able to sit alongside his new teammates and coaches or get a feel for the locker room, meeting rooms and other aspects of the training facilty.
Bowen said that Beasley became a more active participant the more he was involved in the group sessions.
His absence this week, though, suggests he far from fully integrated into the team.
“Honestly, I haven’t even met Vic [in person],” Bowen said. “I think it’s unfair for me to even have any assumptions about anything: whether he works hard; whether he doesn’t work hard. Once we get him here – whenever that is – we’ll kind of see.
“… I mean, we’ve had good conversations. We’ve talked about things throughout the spring and I look forward to getting him here.”