Titans’ defensive coordinator tells his players to “put fear in guys”

AP

Titans defensive coordinator Jerry Gray wants to coach the most intimidating defense in the league, and he doesn’t care if that causes his players to hear from the league office.

“The biggest thing I think in this league is you have to start putting fear in guys from throwing the ball in the middle of the field,” Gray said Wednesday, via Jim Wyatt of the Tennessean. “And if that means getting a letter from the Commissioner on Monday, that means getting a letter from the Commissioner.”

Gray is walking a fine line between urging his players to be aggressive and risking a letter from the Commissioner of his own. The NFL expects coaches to teach players to learn to hit within the rules, not to tell them they shouldn’t care if they get a FedEx envelope with a letter from the league office informing them they’ve been fined.

But Gray said he isn’t encouraging cheap shots, just physical play.

“A lot of times you have to be able to let these guys know: You are not going to be able to throw the ball in the middle of the football field,” Gray said. “This is not a basketball game; it is a football game. So the ball doesn’t go down the middle of our field. And that is what safeties should do in this league.”

With the Saints likely to throw plenty of passes over the middle to their lanky tight end Jimmy Graham on Sunday, Gray is telling his linebackers and safeties they should have a big target over the middle.

“Just do a clean hit, hit a guy clean,” Gray said. “And the good thing is, he is 6-foot-7, so you are not going to hit him in the head anyway.”

Gray hopes his comments will be heard in New Orleans. But those comments will also ensure that any hits delivered by the Titans on Sunday will get close scrutiny at the league office in New York as well.

34 responses to “Titans’ defensive coordinator tells his players to “put fear in guys”

  1. good…glad to hear a coach with some balls…im getting sick of these penalties and fines…they are ruining the game…

  2. Jim Schwartz used to be DC for the Titans.

    Clearly the league should fine the Lions and suspend Suh another 2 games because of this. Also, they should take a 2nd round draft pick and give it to the Saints….because.

  3. What’s he supposed to say: “Don’t hit your opponent too hard now. That would be mean.”?

    “Just do a clean hit, hit a guy clean,” Gray said.

    Baed on his quote, how exactly is Gray “walking a fine line between urging his players to be aggressive and risking a letter from the commissioner of his own.”?

  4. I like the message, I like the theory, I like the principle, I like the idea of defenses destroying guys. It may not be practical or legal in this day and age, but I really like to hear someone say this.

  5. Why would Drew Brees try to throw over the middle to Graham when they’ve been deadly working the sidelines together? Like the great ones do, Brees is going to throw to the open guy, not into coverage.

    Great theory by the DC, but I doubt they get any opportunities to hear from the league on Sunday.

  6. kaveech says:
    Dec 8, 2011 5:11 PM
    If Jim Schwartz says these same words he’s fined and suspended.
    ————————————-

    Uh, obviously not. Do you remember the end of the 49ers game? Perhaps his team should stop stomping on players and shoving refs.

  7. transam7816 says:
    Dec 8, 2011 5:14 PM
    Titans are good. This is the true definition of rebuilding but winning
    ———————————

    News flash. You’re not rebuilding if you’re winning. That means you’re already built.

    Also, the Titans didn’t really need any rebuilding. With the exception of quarterback (which has now been addressed) the team had always been solid everywhere else.

  8. Jerry wants his players to “put the fear of a nattily attired, middle aged man, with a neatly trimmed moustache” into the opposition. Leave them shivering in their boots.

  9. Well, as a Saints fan this puts me in remembrance of Gregg Williams’ remarks during the 2009 Super Bowl Season saying he wants his defense to put “remember me” hits on the QB.

  10. daveeproc says: Dec 8, 2011 5:53 PM

    Uh, he specifically said to make sure it was a clean hit. Is hitting hard, but clean, a fineable offense now?

    ——————————————————

    Well Dave, as a matter of fact it is. Two players were fined $20K a piece today for legal hits that were not flagged on the field because they were not penalties. Not getting a flag is absolutely zero guarantee you will not be fined after the tape is Zaprudered in in the league office frame by frame.

  11. Sadly, my previous post was taken down for some strange reason…

    So to politely say this, as to not offend any short, napoleonic owner of this site….

    “this is a non-story.” Every Defensive Coordinator tells his defense to play with reckless abandon and to put fear in his opponent.

  12. “The NFL expects coaches to teach players to learn to hit within the rules,…”

    Trouble is, nobody knows eactly what the rules are. One guy fined one week, another harder hit is not the next. Its totally subjective and not evenly applied because it cant be. There is no way to objectively apply such loosely formed rules. The helmet to helmet rule is a total joke. Most helmet to helmet collisions are caused by the offensive player lowering their postion to brace for the oncoming hit. It is the ducking by the offensive player that causes the head to head hit.

    Dirty plays like Suh’s or the guy for the Eagles that threw the Seahaks O lineman to the ground are one thing (should have suspended em both), but fining guys for plays that are sometimes not even a penalty on the field is hard to understand.

  13. And given that he’s stupid enough to make these comments BEFORE the game, these hits (when/if they occur, of course) will also be likely to draw scrutiny DURING the game from the refs.

    At least be smart and brag about cheap shots AFTER the game is over and they don’t cost your team lots of penalties, doofus!

  14. broncobeta says: “… the Titans didn’t really need any rebuilding. With the exception of quarterback (which has now been addressed) the team had always been solid everywhere else.”

    Um, BroncoBeta, have you been paying attention? The Titans have been starting the youngest defense in the NFL. Rookies everywhere you turn.

  15. Titans need to do something because the math says if the Titans lose to the Saints and the Texans win -the “post season” is pretty much over for Jerry Gray.

  16. I don’t have any problem with any coach or player saying what ever they want too as long as they back it up. In fact most players love it when the opposition does that cuz it helps motivate them. But this Sunday the Saints will hand the Titans a loss in their own back yard. Geaux Saints!

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