Players Pack Portable Playbooks as Titans Scatter for Break

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Michael Griffin can take his playbook to Texas, Dexter McCluster can carry it with him on his first trip to Vegas, Jason McCourty will be taking his to Arizona, and Nate Washington will be tempted to bring his to the dinner table.

Titans players began scattering around the country Thursday after the final session of a three-day minicamp ended their three-month offseason workout program. They'll report back to Saint Thomas Sports Park July 25 for the start of training camp.

In years past, players have turned in playbooks (three-ring binders filled with papers) during this break, but the implementation of digital playbooks on iPads this offseason will allow players to continue studying while on trips to see family, friends or sights.

Griffin said he thinks the digital playbooks will be "a big advantage" because they are easy to scroll through and can receive updates and messages from teammates.  

"Everything is right there in front of you," Griffin said. "If you don't understand the play, the drawing, you can go to the video portion and see it run within real game footage."

Titans coach Ken Whisenhunt said he thought the digital playbooks helped players grasp new offensive and defensive systems. He said he liked the way players carried the devices throughout the practice facility to study plays during breaks in the schedule, and said the video integration is possibly the best part.

"It's easy, it's convenient to carry and has a lot of information," Whisenhunt said. "Video is probably one of the things that makes it so exciting because that's the hardest thing, and to have that so readily accessible helps."

McCluster said players made improvements in grasping the systems and gave the team's performance in the offseason program a "B-plus."

"From day one, I was like, 'Wow, it's going to take a long time to learn this play.' It looks like Japanese sometimes, but from day one to now, we definitely made steady progress," McCluster said.

McCourty, who is preparing for his sixth pro season, said the access to game film is far greater than when he entered the league. He plans to review his own performance during the offseason program and trade notes with his twin brother Devin, a defensive back with New England.

"It will be huge. It's just so much easier now with that iPad, having that and just being able to turn on the practice film," McCourty said. "We were never able to do that before. That will make it a lot easier for me. I'll probably go back and re-watch the OTAs and the minicamp just to see small things I need to work on and keep the defense fresh in my mind."

He said "it's up to us to do the most with" the technology and predicted it will help younger players.

We have some young guys like (Blidi Wreh-Wilson, Daimion Stafford and Khalid Wooten) that are coming into their second year now and are supposed to be taking that big step," McCourty said. "I think they've done a good job thus far, and it's going to be important in these next five weeks to take those steps forward." 

Washington said the opportunity to reinforce what the team learned during the offseason program will be helpful to players of all ages.

"This offense and defense is definitely not an easy one to remember, so allowing us the ability to go home with these iPads is going to be tremendous for a lot of guys, especially myself," Washington said. "Staying in those iPads and being able to watch the film, being able to stay in the playbooks is going to be a tremendous opportunity for us to get better and understand the offense and defense, so we'll continue to do those things throughout the break."

He said the technology allows him to take game film pretty much anywhere to fine-tune details. "You could only watch video if you came into the facilities in the previous years. Now, wherever I'm at, across the U.S., out of the country, I have that video sitting in my lap, so it doesn't matter if I'm on vacation," Washington said. "Sometimes I've been getting in trouble for being at dinner with that iPad with my family. (My wife) thinks I can't put it down, but I love the opportunity of being able to see film and correct mistakes that even the coaches might not see, something I can do better with getting open or understanding the plays a little better."

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