NASHVILLE – Titans defensive coordinator Shane Bowen spoke to reporters on a video conference call on Wednesday.
Bowen was officially named D.C. earlier this offseason after leading the defense a year ago as outside linebackers coach.
"(Things) have definitely changed," Bowen said. "Just the position, the title, the stuff that comes with it – having control over the whole unit, my perspective on everything, making sure we are all on the same page, seeing things the same way. Ultimately, being the final voice. It has changed in that regard, but it's been great. Players have been great, and we're doing a lot of new things, a lot of different things, adjusting how we go about our day, how we go about our business and then obviously schematically some things change as we go with all the new personnel and everything else. But it has been good at this point."
Here's a look at some of the highlights from the call ...
-With so many changes on the defense, Bowen said the team is using OTAs to find out what players do well, "what they understand, what they can execute, what their skill-sets are." In some ways, "we're starting from square one all over again, trying to rebuild this thing with the new guys we've got," he said. During OTAs, he's also been able to bounce from group to group to build relationships with players, while helping him take a leadership role on the whole unit. Heading into the season, he wants to maximize the ability of the players in the defense. This offseason he's stressing the importance of communication, and finding ways to create turnovers again this fall.
-With the addition of veteran cornerback Janoris "Jackrabbit" Jenkins and first-round pick Caleb Farley, Bowen acknowledged the defense could look to play "more aggressive in coverage, to challenge receivers more. Whether it's those two, or any of these other DBs, these linebackers that are playing in coverage."
-Bowen is well aware of the challenge facing him moving forward following a season when the defense struggled. "Obviously, there's some stuff we've got to get corrected," Bowen said. "Just like all these players – we work every single day to prove ourselves, and to make this team better. … We have to play better defensively, (but) I am excited, I am encouraged about where this this is going. Just like everybody else, I am putting in the work day in and day out, trying to do everything I can to help this team win."
-Bowen believes the addition of former Steelers edge rusher Bud Dupree and former Colts defensive lineman Denico Autry will join others to boost the pass rush this fall. "We're excited about what Bud has done, what Denico has done, where Jeff (Simmons) is at, what Harold (Landry) has done at times for us," Bowen said. "We obviously have to develop a few more guys, to find ways to (pressure) the quarterback. … I have confidence in them. I can't wait until we get to the fall and we get to put this thing together and see what it looks like."
-Bowen said he feels fortunate to be able to use new senior defensive assistant Jim Schwartz as a resource, along with head coach Mike Vrabel and veteran assistant Jim Haslett, a long-time NFL defensive coordinator himself who serves as inside linebackers coach with the team. "We all work well together – it's been good," he said. "The beauty of it is Mike has done it, Schwartz has done it at a high level for a long time, and he's been successful. Haslett has done it for a long time. It is great to be able to bounce ideas off each other."
-Bowen didn't provide precise details, but he hinted changes are coming with the way the Titans play defense this fall. "We're trying new things," he said. "There's a lot of the same scheme stuff, don't get me wrong, but there's a lot of ways to skin a cat. You can do things a lot of different ways, (so) we're just trying to find what fits with these players. … We're trying to find that niche of what works with our guys ultimately."