When Kerry Collins first recouped the starting quarterback job last season, he remarked that he aimed to make the Tennessee Titans his team.
Now as he heads into 2009, Collins has unquestionably done that in the eyes of his teammates, and is taking the leadership role very seriously this off-season.
“In the past, I’ve gone home for a week or so and not been around for a week or two at a time, but it’s more important for me to be here day in and day out,” Collins said. “The young guys, I think I’m more aware of how guys see me and how they view me as a leader of this team. I try to show them that I’m willing to do what it takes in the off-season to get ready for a season.”
For Collins, that means even cutting the off time short between now and the opening of training camp on July 31.
“Usually this time of year, I got home and I wait till the very last minute to come back to camp, but I’m going to come back at least 10 days early and make sure that I’m here and doing all the things necessary to make sure I’m ready once camp starts,” Collins said.
“We don’t have a lot of practice time till our first preseason game. I’m more in tune to my role and the fact that I’ve worked hard this off-season. I don’t want to stay away from it as long as I have in the past.”
Collins said he believes teammates see him as a leader, and that he wants guys to know it is a role he willing accepts and embraces and that he doesn’t mind letting guys know when things need to be corrected.
“I probably do it more than you think. I just don’t verbalize it outwardly and publicly,” Collins said. “But I definitely will do that, and hopefully, guys see me as a solid foundation and a guy that can come to and talk to and know that my door is open to talk about things. I think that’s an important part of being a leader, having good communication with the guys. I think they all feel like they can come talk to me if they need to.”
Collins has personal goals attached to the 2009 season as well. With the upgrade in personnel with the additions of Nate Washington, Kenny Britt and Jared Cook, the veteran quarterback says the passing game needs to hold up its end of the bargain this year.
“I thought we made good strides this off-season. Offensively, we built on things that we did well last year. We implemented some things that are going to help us and from a personnel standpoint we’ve gotten better. I’m excited about it,” Collins said.
“I just think overall as far as the passing game, I’d like to be more productive, score more, and I’d like to throw more than 12 touchdowns. If we can just step it up a little bit and be more prolific from a passing standpoint. I think that should be a goal of ours.”