NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Titans scored a nice catch at the start of last season in linebacker David Bass.
Coming off a productive year, Bass is happy he's not in catch-up mode, and he's ready to contribute again.
He's had a solid training camp, when he's built on his reputation.
"Oh man,'' linebacker Brian Orakpo said of Bass, who was claimed off waivers from Chicago the Sunday before last year's season opener. "He has like a lucky horseshoe in his back pocket. This guy is around every loose ball, every interception. We have all kinds of nicknames for him. Every ball, we know Bass is coming up with it."
Bass, heading into his fourth NFL season, posted 42 tackles, 1.5 sacks and an interception last year. He started seven games, and provided a nice boost when the team lost linebacker Derrick Morgan to injury during the season.
A year later, Bass is feeling more comfortable. And he's been playing like it.
"It was on the go last year,'' Bass said. "I am still learning, and really, you can never learn too much. I am always trying to build chemistry and get more comfortable in the playbook. But I've had a whole offseason to work at things I needed to improve on from last year, switching to a 3-4… and I think I am better with the playbook, and making plays.
"Last year was my first year playing in the 3-4, so I am trying to get better at dropping, being in space … and setting the edges. … I am never satisfied, you can't be content in this game. I am working every day."
With Orakpo and Morgan set to start for the team at outside linebacker, Bass should provide a key piece to the rotation. In Saturday's preseason opener against the Chargers, Bass was credited with a tackle, just five days after a scrimmage at Nissan Stadium when he came up an interception. Linebackers J.R. Tavai and Deiontrez Mount were among those with sacks on Saturday night. Another outside linebacker, second-round pick Kevin Dodd, came off PUP on Wednesday, and he's looking to make an impact.
Bass said having a healthy Orakpo and Morgan – and depth -- will be key.
"The rotation is everything,'' Bass said. "If we can keep fresh bodies on the field it is going to be tough for the offenses to get a hold of what we are doing, and if they do they still have to stop us. With everybody back, we're going to be a defense to mess with. We're going to be good."
Titans coach Mike Mularkey said he's seen improvement out of Bass, who also recorded an interception – and what would've been a Pick-6 – early in camp.
"His level of play has gone up, so now you're talking about we've got two bookends with Derrick being back—and he looks really good,'' Mularkey said of Bass. "We're being smart about it, but he looks really good. So we've got some depth at that position, which we didn't feel like we had last year."
Titans players take the field for Day 14 of training camp at Saint Thomas Sports Park. (Gary Glenn)