NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Asking the leader of your defense to keep his mouth shut may not make a lot of sense to the average person, but that’s exactly what Mike Vrabel has done.
The Titans head coach said he sometimes challenges his starting safety and leader of the secondary, Kevin Byard, to not talk at practice.
He wants to see how other players respond and who steps up in his absence.
“It is good to sometimes not have him out there, so it is forcing other guys to communicate and talk. We have gone through days where I have asked him not to say anything just to see what will happen,” said Vrabel.
Although his loud personality and verbal leadership skills come naturally, Byard understands what his head coach is trying to do.
“I’m always trying to be the loudest person on the field, but I understand his point behind it because you know some younger guys who need to take a bigger step in their roles on the defense,” said Byard. “He needs those guys to be communicating without me talking and so that also gives me confidence.”
Don’t worry, come gametime, Byard will do whatever it takes to win.
“I understand what he’s trying to do but when we get into game day, I’m trying to be the loudest guy on the field talking and communicating.”
The Pro Bowler said when asked about who takes over when he’s taking a back-seat role and he pointed to third-year safety Amani Hooker. In addition to leading verbally, he’s also lead with his play. Through the first three days of training camp, Hooker has picked off Ryan Tannehill twice in practice.