NASHVILLE – Titans linebacker David Long Jr. likes to let his play speak for him.
And, over the past three seasons, he's made more noise each year in the NFL.
Heading into Year 4, Long wants to be more of a vocal leader as well.
"It's really not my nature," Long said. "As far as talking goes, I am more on the quiet side. But you can't be quiet on the field, especially as a linebacker, as a leader on the defense. So that's a step in my game I am trying to improve in, whether it's on the sideline talking to the rookies or on the field, knowing what everybody's job is and trying to communicate."
Being around for all of the team's offseason program – including all six OTAs so far – has allowed Long to establish himself even more.
It's one of the reasons he loves working out with the team during the voluntary offseason program.
"This time right here is where we build relationships, especially with the rookies or any new guys that we've picked up. This is the grind right here," Long said. "The rookies come in and learn what we're about. I'm here, and I've been here, so I can give the pointers that I have. Right now, it's about stacking the days and getting better each day."
Long has been stacking some good seasons since arriving with the Titans as a sixth-round draft pick out of West Virginia in the 2019 NFL Draft.
In 2021, Long finished third on the Titans with 75 tackles despite missing seven games.
It followed up his 2020 season when he played in 14 games, with five starts, and totaled 50 tackles. Long primarily played on special teams in 2019, but he earned the trust of the coaching staff to earn significant playing time in the team's three playoff games that season, including a start at Baltimore in the Divisional Round.
Now, Long wants to take the next step.
"I feel like I am still growing into the player I want to be," Long said. "I think I have gotten better every year since I've been here. … I am more of a vet now in the room, so it was important for me to be here to show that I am grinding.
"Now I know a lot (more than I did as a young player). It's about fine-tuning the fundamentals, and what else I can involve in my craft, whether it's blitzes or whatever that might me. Finding ways to get better, or finding ways to rally my teammates to do the same thing."
A 5-foot-11, 227-pounder, Long said he's working on every part of his game.
In addition to wanting to communicate better, he wants to be a better in every facet of his game, from blitzing to tackling to covering to how he drops in coverage and more.
He has an answer for anyone who might sell him short.
"I've been hearing the undersized stuff since high school, but it never changed the way I played," Long said. "It really revved me up, as far as that dog mentality. It is like, 'I am going to show you how big, or how little, you think I am.' That is just being me."