Jeff Fisher was happy with the way his team worked – on and off the field – the previous two days.
So Thursday, the Tennessee Titans’ coach allowed his players to play.
In lieu of the scheduled organized team activity (OTA), the Titans played what they call ‘power ball,’ a mix of touch football, basketball and ultimate Frisbee. The result was about 45 minutes of aerobic activity and a lighter-than-usual atmosphere.
“I decided to change things up a little bit,” Fisher said. “In their minds it was a little easier because they didn’t have an OTA, but … they ran continuously for 45 minutes and probably got more conditioning than they would have if they had practiced.”
NFL teams are allowed 14 OTAs during the course of the offseason.
The Titans’ first two took place two weeks ago. Two more were scheduled for this week – Tuesday and Thursday.
On Wednesday, though, most of the players and coaches were on the west side of town helping with the clean up from the previous week’s flooding. That turned into a workout in its own right and helped change the approach for this week.
“I think (Thursday) was just a good ‘Thanks guys’ for going out in the community and getting things done, and really helping people change their lives and start getting them back in order,” linebacker Will Witherspoon said. “Guys put a lot of work in (Wednesday) and that was a great thing to see.”
Power ball has been a staple of the team’s offseason conditioning program in recent years. Led by strength and conditioning coach Steve Watterson it has a firm set of rules.
Rarely, though, it is used as a formal practice. That was the case this time as six games ran concurrently.
“You can see which guys are athletes and have the hand-eye coordination,” Fisher said. “And it gives the big guys an opportunity to go out there and compete and do something other than just hit a sled.
“… They’ve got the game down pretty well.”
He felt the same way about their current grasp on football.
“We had a really solid workout on Tuesday – I was really pleased with the speed and where we are overall in the offseason program,” Fisher said. “Then, of course (Wednesday) … most of the guys had a tremendous day. … The workload they were able to put in (Wednesday) was impressive. They worked hard.”
So the next day they played.
• Running back Chris Johnson and tight end Bo Scaife again were no-shows despite the fact that each is under contract. Johnson has three years remaining on the five-year deal he signed as a rookie, and Scaife recently put his name to the team’s one-year tender offer.
“Bo must have reasons for it,” Fisher said. “He was compensated pretty well last year and he’s going to be compensated pretty well this year. I think we’ve treated Bo pretty well.”
Also absent again was linebacker Stephen Tulloch, who has been offered a one-year tender but has not signed.
Titans’ OTAs are voluntary.
• Friday is the deadline for season ticket holders to renew for the 2010 season.
The deadline was extended from May 3 because of last week’s flooding. All current ticket holder should have been notified by the change.
Renewals can be completed in person at the Titans’ ticket office or by phone at (615) 565-4200.