NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) --The Tennessee Titans are getting a bit of a head start with a voluntary minicamp this week at Saint Thomas Sports Park.
The Titans started their offseason program two weeks earlier because the team has a new coach in Ken Whisenhunt, and they also hit the field Tuesday for the first of a three-day, voluntary minicamp to start translating what the new playbook and defensive schemes to the field.
"We're behind, not behind in the sense we're learning stuff, but we're behind in that we're a new team," new linebacker Shaun Phillips said of the Titans compared to other teams. "So we're behind in that sense, and he's a new coach. ... This is part of the process right now."
Tuesday marked just the latest step after sweeping changes this offseason for this franchise. Whisenhunt, who took Arizona to a Super Bowl, was hired in January to end a five-season drought without a playoff berth, and he said there were some new challenges Tuesday for both coaches and players.
"One of the messages to our team was that we've had success both defensively and offensively with these systems, so put the time in," Whisenhunt said. "We're going to adjust it, tweak it, make it fit for the guys that we have and we expect to be successful."
Whisenhunt wasn't ready to judge anything after the two-hour session ended. He said he wants the Titans to know coaches want them doing the right thing with technique, fundamentals, communicating to each other and simply being in the right position.
"We're going to have time to see that, but we have to set a good foundation in these three days with operating our system, doing it right, not making a lot of mistakes," Whisenhunt said.
Whisenhunt and the Titans had good attendance with quarterback Jake Locker throwing in individual drills as he recovers from surgery on his right foot. That left Charlie Whitehurst and Tyler Wilson to handle all the work in team drills with Locker watching trying to learn Whisenhunt's offense as quickly as possible.
Locker said getting on the field has helped him see how the whole offense fits together and watching the team drills Tuesday is helping speed his learning process.
"It allows me to kind of sit back and take mental reps at it, and that's what I've got to do to continue growing," Locker said.
The biggest changes for Tennessee on the field will be on defense where new coordinator Ray Horton will be using what they've called a hybrid 3-4 look. The most visible change early is on the roster where Derrick Morgan and Kamerion Wimbley both are listed as linebackers and defensive ends after playing end in a 4-3 scheme last season.
Titans head coach Ken Whisenhunt leads the Titans in their first minicamp of 2014. (Donn Jones Photography.com)
Even Jurrell Casey, who led Tennessee with 10 ½ sacks last season at tackle, is ready to do whatever the Titans ask of him. He said he weighs 290 pounds — 15 pounds lighter than a year ago at this time or during the season when he played in the middle — as he chases his goal of 18 sacks and higher in a season.
"Got to be light both ways," Casey said. "Our nose tackles do the same thing our ends do."
NOTES: Left guard Andy Levitre and center Brian Schwenke took part in some individual drills as they recover from injuries. Linebacker Akeem Ayers watched as he recovers from offseason surgery.