Titans' coordinator ready to install his defense

Associated Press Modified: May 17, 2012 at 5:32 pm •  Published: May 17, 2012

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Jerry Gray finally is about to install his own defensive schemes with the Tennessee Titans.

Thanks to the NFL lockout last year, Gray had no offseason as the new defensive coordinator to make changes. So Gray said Thursday he just trimmed the fat out of what the Titans had used the year before and managed to squeeze out a unit that ranked eighth in the league in fewest points allowed.

Now he's making sure to tailor his scheme to new players like end Kamerion Wimbley and returning players like linebacker Akeem Ayers. He also has plenty of competition to replace Cortland Finnegan at cornerback.

What exactly does he have in store? Gray's not saying, though getting to the quarterback is a priority after a measly 28 sacks in 2011.

"We know we got things to work on," Ayers said. "We know we didn't do our best job at getting to the quarterback and everybody knows that. The guy, the d-linemen, linebackers who rush the quarterback we know that we've got to do better at that. So that's just motivation to work harder this offseason."

Gray and a few Titans spoke Thursday after their latest session in the offseason program. Nobody has seen just what Gray has in store for them yet because they are all working on their individual technique and conditioning still. The team's first organized team session is the last week of May.

"Last year throughout the season certain things he would say that we couldn't run just yet," cornerback Jason McCourty said. "We had to get an offseason to really teach it so we can master it before we go out on Sundays and get a chance to run it. So I'm excited about that, just to see the different nuances he's going to add to the defense and let guys use their athletic ability and make plays."

Gray plans to add a lot, using some schemes he used in Buffalo and in Washington.

"So we're kind of tailoring this defense to the players we have, not to what we had, which was under the gun, last year," Gray said.

The Titans' biggest offseason addition came with the signing of Wimbley. The 6-foot-4 Wimbley will play end for the Titans, and he has 42.5 career sacks. Gray compares Wimbley to Chris Clemons, who came to Seattle a couple years ago and had 12.5 sacks in helping the Seahawks just miss the NFC championship game.

They also expect Wimbley to help end Derrick Morgan, the 16th pick overall in 2010 who was busy recovering from a torn ACL this time last year.

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