New Titans Secondary Coach Anthony Midget Getting Message Across with His Own Style

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NASHVILLE – New Titans secondary coach Anthony Midget isn't a yeller and a screamer.

Chances are, you won't hear him as he heads out the door to the practice fields.

What members of the Titans secondary are already finding out is Midget is a teacher with his own style.

And after spending the past six seasons with the Texans, he's excited about helping the Titans.

"I'm not an in-your-face-type of guy, animated or anything like that," said Midget, who replaced the energetic and colorful Kerry Coombs after he left to take over as defensive coordinator at Ohio State earlier this offseason.

"But I'm very demanding. I'm demanding that the guys do the things we're asking them to do and demanding that we get the best out of our players. Just reiterating the things that Vrabes (Mike Vrabel) emphasizes, just playing hard, playing with great effort, and that's what we're going to require from our guys, and that's what we're going to demand. But you're not going to see me running up and down the sidelines. The guys just kind of understand the expectations that we as a staff have for them and that we're going to demand from them."

Already, players have taken a liking to Midget, who coached alongside Vrabel in Houston.

"Midge has done a great job," safety Kenny Vaccaro said. "Obviously, we haven't met in person because we're just doing Zoom meetings, but from my experience so far, it's been great. He's been in the league a while. Obviously, Coach Coombs came more from college and it's a little different because you're trying to feel out players and kind of understand the league. With Midge, he's already been around NFL players and been around NFL secondaries where you kind of understand how it works. He already has a good understanding of that, so it's been smooth, it's been easy. I've enjoyed the meetings with him, he's made them fun and entertaining. It's been great, honestly."

Titans cornerback Adoree' Jackson said he hit it off with Midget at the start.

"Midge is a great guy," Jackson said. "As soon as he got with the team, (he) called my phone, we texted back and forth. Just a good person from that standpoint being able to talk to him, and a great coach being able to teach and help us with the simpler terms, simpler things, just to make sure that we're all on the same page.

"Each coach is different. I appreciated Coach Kerry, and now we have Coach Midge so I'm just excited to see the things that he brings and to build up my game, and the team as well."

Midget has 14 years of coaching experience, including six seasons (2014-19) in Houston, where he served the past two seasons as the Texans secondary coach.

In 2018, the Texans finished ninth in the NFL in interceptions with 15 and fourth in points allowed (19.8). Midget joined the Texans in 2014, as the assistant secondary coach, and spent four seasons in that role before being promoted to secondary coach.

Before joining the NFL, he spent one season at Penn State (2013) coaching safeties, and five seasons (2008-12) at Georgia State, including one season as defensive coordinator in 2012. As a player, Midget was a three-year starter at cornerback for Virginia Tech and was a fifth-round selection by the Atlanta Falcons in 2000.

With the Titans, Midget takes over a secondary that returns starting safeties Kevin Byard and Vaccaro, along with cornerbacks Malcolm Butler and Jackson. This offseason, the Titans signed veteran free agent cornerback Johnathan Joseph, who played for Midget in Houston, and the team drafted former LSU cornerback Kristian Fulton in the second round of the draft. The Titans also drafted defensive back Chris Jackson in the seventh round while also adding safety Ibraheim Campbell, formerly of the Packers, earlier this offseason as well. Defensive backs Tye Smith, Joshua Kalu, Chris Milton, Kenneth Durden and Kareem Orr also return, along with safeties Dane Cruikshank and Amani Hooker.

In 2020, the Titans will aim to replace veteran cornerback Logan Ryan, one of the team's top performers in 2019.

Midget said he's excited to be reunited with Joseph, who ranks fourth among active NFL players for career interceptions (31) and leads all active NFL cornerbacks in career tackles (750). Joseph also leads all NFL players over the last 20 seasons for passes defensed (194) and can become the first NFL player to reach 200 passes defensed since the statistic became tracked (2000).

"He's awesome," Midget said of Joseph. "Outside of being a vet that's been playing a lot of productive football in this league, he's a great person. He's a great guy to help everybody in the room, he's been doing that on these calls. He's starting to build relationships with guys now. They have a lot of respect for him because anybody that's played in the league this long has been doing something right. So, it will be good for him to come in and provide some veteran leadership to some of the younger guys to teach them how to be pros, and how to have longevity in this league."

He's been impressed by what he's seen from Fulton, who started all 15 games for LSU in 2019 and was in on 38 tackles, 14 pass break-ups and one interception while earning second team All-SEC honors.

"One thing we noticed just sitting down meeting with him at the Combine and times I got to meet with him, he was very smart, very articulate, understood the entire back end, a guy that can play inside and outside," Midget said of Fulton. "He just fit what we were looking for. He provides versatility, and he's come in here every day in the meetings that we've had with him, he's come prepared. He's put in the time, he's studying on his own, and he's a very, very smart football player. We're excited to have him."

Leading up to this season, the Titans have plenty of things to sort out in the secondary.

The team must find a player, or a group of players, to replace Ryan in the slot.

The team needs some players to emerge to provide quality depth, in the event injuries open doors like they did last season.

And the Titans need to find ways to make even more game-changing plays.

Already, Midget has liked what he's seen.

The good first impression has worked both ways.

"Just being around these guys, I love the attention to detail," Midget said. "You've got a guy like Kevin Byard, Kenny Vaccaro and those guys, Malcolm has been in the meetings, Adoree', and then adding a guy like Johnathan Joseph, it's been great. We have a veteran group, which I think helps with some continuity with the situation we're in. The thing that we just want to improve on, we just want to be consistent. Every time we step on the field our goal is to be the best, and that's what we want to be week in and week out, and that's what we're going to strive to be each week."

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