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Titans DL Teair Tart Aims to Be Better, by Being More Versatile, in 2023


NASHVILLE – When the 2022 season ended, Titans defensive lineman Teair Tart was looking for a place to chill.

So, he went to Iceland.

Tart said he promised college friends from Florida International University he'd visit one day, so when he got the chance, he made the trip.

"The Blue Lagoon, the Northern Lights – it's really nice," Tart said with a smile. "The food was good, the scenery, all the mountains. … It's a once-in-a-lifetime experience, something I recommend everybody do."

Tart has spent the rest of the offseason working on his game, with a few priorities in mind – he wants to be better as a pass rusher, and he wants to make it tougher for coaches to take him off the field.

Along the way, he thinks it will make him a better, and more valuable, player.

"It is important, just not being a one-trick pony," Tart said. "Being versatile, the more you can do, the longer you'll be on the team and the more you'll be on the field.

"I'm just trying to find a way to get better. … I love playing football, I love learning about football, and I want to get better."

Tart, who joined the Titans as an undrafted free agent out of FIU back in 2020, has gotten better each year.

In 2022, in fact, he had the best season of his NFL career by a wide margin.

Tart started 16 games a year ago, and he finished the season with 34 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 22 quarterback pressures, five tackles for a loss, one fumble recovery, and an interception.

Tart played in 11 games, with 10 starts, in 2021 after playing in just seven games, with one start, as a rookie in 2020.

"I think he's done a good job," Titans defensive line coach Terrell Williams said of Tart, and his work this offseason. "He's worked hard, worked on his pad level, his fundamentals. The biggest thing for him was working on the pass rush part, and we spent a lot of time working on that as a group, and with him some individually. He's definitely made some strides there.

"(His mindset) is just getting better. It's not (that he has) anything to prove, it's about getting better, and I think he's done a good job of doing that during the course of his career."

Titans head coach Mike Vrabel is looking for even more.

"With Teair it has always been, and will always be, his ability to stay out there, and play with the level and the effort that we require," Vrabel said. "Jeff (Simmons) plays a lot of snaps because Jeff plays them really good, but he is also physically conditioned to stay out there. And if Jeff was not running to the football, then we would get him over to the side, get him some rest, and put him back in the game.

"We want Teair to play as many snaps as he possibly can at that level because he can help us. That is our goal, and I've communicated that to him. … where we can try and get to him to be able to play and help us on third down. Even when Jeff wasn't out there, there were games (last year) where (Teair) factored, and he improved his pass rush and his ability to affect the quarterback. So, he knows he needs to be an interior physical presence, obviously in the middle of the pocket, in the run game, but also improve his pass rush and continue to work on his conditioning so he can play 65 percent of the snaps and not 40 or 45."

The 6-foot-2, 304-pound Tart, known for his big personality, said he's spent a lot of time this offseason working on his cardio, while getting stronger.

He's also put a big emphasis on his technique, and film study, and everything it takes to be a professional.

Tart said he's ready to take his game to another level.

"Just trying to understand concepts a little bit better, and just understanding footwork and understanding my opponent and how I can take advantage of situations," Tart said.

"The next step for me is developing my pass rush game and solidifying my identity and be the type of player, the type of rusher, I want to be. I want to be the best player I can possibly be."

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