The Titans liked what they got from linebacker Akeem Ayers in his rookie season, but they want even more in his second year.
Ayers had 88 tackles as a rookie, the second-most by any Titans rookie since 1999, and he will start at strongside linebacker again this season. Ayers wasn’t a major part of the team’s pass rush, though, and that’s something that both Ayers and the team want to change this time around.
“I am real motivated to help out even more, whatever they want me to do,” said Ayers, via the Tennessean. “Hopefully I can get the opportunity to rush the passer more. I want to do more things. I am excited for the season to come. I want my hard work to pay off. And I will definitely be more prepared for the season.”
Ayers had two sacks and seven quarterback pressures last season, but the team has come up with a strategy for boosting his production on that front. Ayers has been working with pass rush coach Keith Millard and the team plans to have him line up at defensive end on passing downs.
The team had just 28 sacks overall last season so there’s definitely a need for improvement. Kamerion Wimbley was brought to town to help on that front, but he won’t be enough to do it all on his own. If Derrick Morgan steps up and Ayers proves up to his new task, the Titans could be a tougher team to play against this year.