NASHVILLE – Titans General Manager Jon Robinson held a video conference call with reporters on Tuesday.
Here's a look at the biggest topics discussed during the 37-minute session:
-Robinson started off the availability expressing his condolences to the Buccaneers and the family of receiver Vincent Jackson, who passed away over the weekend. Robinson said he got to know Jackson during his time with the Buccaneers and said he "was a consummate pro, and a great person." Robinson said, "our thoughts and prayers are out to his family and the entire Buccaneer community."
-Robinson was asked about former Texans defensive lineman J.J. Watt, who was released last week. Robinson reminded he actually worked Watt out when he was with the Patriots, when Watt was headed into the NFL Draft. "He pushed me around pretty good for about 2 ½ hours," Robinson said of Watt. Robinson acknowledged the team has had some contact, but he said it's early. "We obviously know his skill-set, and what he has meant to the Texans, having played against him twice (a year), the type of player he is," Robinson said. "So we'll see how it goes, like a lot of these guys that are coming available over the next few weeks. We'll see where their interest is, and then make a determination if it's an avenue of, "Hey, do we want to go down that road and are we a fit for some of these guys that come available?"
-Robinson said he hasn't personally spoken tackle Isaiah Wilson, the team's first-round pick in last year's NFL Draft, since the team placed him on the Reserve/Non-Football list last year, but he said he knows of others who have been in contact with him. Robinson said the Titans did a lot of homework on Wilson leading up to picking him. "He is going to have to make a determination on if he wants to do everything necessary to play pro football," Robinson said of Wilson. "And that is going to be on him. I know what the expectation level is here, and it's no different than any other player on the football team. We have a certain standard that we want players to prepare and perform at professionally, and as people, and there's a lot of work to be done there."
-Robinson said the Titans are working with the NFL and the guidelines in place for talking to prospects for the upcoming draft. Robinson said the team has had a set of Zoom interviews with prospects, and more are scheduled. Robinson said the team gets a limited number of face-to-face interactions with Zoom calls, but unlimited phone calls. Robinson said he's waiting to hear from colleges on how much interaction is allowed with players and coaches before deciding how many Pro Days the team might attend. "We are being mindful of all the guidelines as it relates to travel and the campus guidelines when we're on campus," Robinson said.
-Robinson said the Titans are working through several different models as it relates to the salary cap, and the team's ability to re-sign their own players, and add others. "We are in better shape than some teams are cap-wise, and we're not as good as others. We'll work through it and try and do what is best for the team." Robinson said the Titans haven't made any decisions on players who might not return. It's a work in progress, he said.
-Robinson said the Titans know they need to be better at impacting the opposing team's quarterbacks in 2021, a year after the team finished the year with 15 sacks during the regular season. He said that comes in a number of ways, from rushing the passer to coverage to blitzing. "It's something that's high on our list – to find guys, whatever position it is defensively – that can affect the quarterback," Robinson said. Robinson Harold Landry has been a good player for the Titans, and he noted Jadeveon Clowney flashed before his injury in 2020. "It has to be better," Robinson said if the pass rush. "We have to execute better. But there are different ways to affect the quarterback, and we have to be better on the edge rush. But there are players who have been productive for us on the edge."
-Robinson spoke about the importance of continuity on the staff when asked about defensive coordinator Shane Bowen. "And when it comes to the execution of a defense, there's a lot of things that go into it – there's the call itself, there's the execution of the call, it's the players that are on the field trying to execute the call," Robinson said. "It's more than one thing when things go good, and when things don't go so good. It's a combination of a lot of different things on every single play. So, I am excited about the continuity and looking to improving on a lot of areas on that side of the football."
-Robinson held himself accountable when asked to self-scout his performance. "There have been more positives in the roster building than negative around here in the last 4-5 years," Robinson said. "I am proud of what we have done so far. We are one of three teams to have five consecutive winning seasons, and we have been to the playoffs three times, won the division this past year, won 11 games to get into the playoffs. … But we have to be better. There's one team that is going to host a parade at the end of the year. One team. And the other 31 are going to be frustrated and look back on ways to try and get to that game and win that game. We all have to be better and it starts with me."
-Robinson was asked multiple times about receiver Adam Humphries, who finished last year on Injured Reserve because of lingering concussion symptoms related to a hit he took against the Bengals. Robinson said the team continues to monitor Humphries and his health while speaking to doctors and the player and "we'll see how that goes."
-Robinson said he had conversations with receiver Corey Davis and tight end Jonnu Smith at the end of the season. Davis and Smith are scheduled to become free agents in March. "I am proud of both of those guys," Robinson said. "I had the same conversation at the end of the season with those guys that I had with Jack Conklin a year ago. I was like, 'You have done everything we have asked of you here, and we are going to be competitive in trying to keep you. But at the end of the day you are going to have a decision to make if you have suitors with other teams. We'll see what we can figure out, but at the end of the day if they choose to capitalize on free agency and the market, I wish them nothing but the best. They have done everything we have asked them to do."
-Robinson was asked about the importance of adding speed at the receiver position, and whether it will be a priority this offseason. "I think the priority at that position is to get open and catch the football, and then run with it after you catch it," Robinson said. "There's a lot of fast guys in this league that can't catch, a lot of fast guys that can't get open. … We want guys than can get open, catch the football, run with it after they catch it, and one of the more unsung jobs is their ability to block."
-Robinson made it clear the team is looking for tough-minded football players. "We have to continue to add guys that are going to be about what we're about as people, as football players, and guys that can have an impact on the game. …. We have to continue to find guys that love ball. That's the one thing that we want, guys that love ball, guys that want to be pro football players, not guys that just put 'Pro Football Player" as their hashtag on their Instagram or their Snapchat or their Twitters. We want guys that actually want to play the game of pro football, because it is a strain. Pro football is hard, and you have to really love football and want to do it. And that is more than just putting in on your Twitter as your occupation."