Derrick Morgan did not hesitate Wednesday when asked whether he was more hopeful or confident of a reversal of the Tennessee Titans’ fortunes this season.
“I’m confident — 100 percent,” the fourth-year defensive end said. “I see the changes we made, just the intensity that we brought to practice [during the offseason]. And guys are hungry. I know I am. We’re tired of losing. Last year was a miserable season for me. I know it was for a lot of people. I know we don’t want to feel that way in January so we’re going to do whatever it takes to be playing at playoff time and be in New York for the Super Bowl.
“Those are my goals. I know as a team we collectively have the same goal so we’re going to work toward it.”
Others struck a similarly optimistic tone on the first day of training camp. Players reported to the team’s MetroCenter facility in the morning for meetings and other procedural matters. The first on-field workout was set for Thursday afternoon with the first public workout scheduled for Friday.
The roster underwent a significant roster overhaul through free agency and the draft, and 10 coaches either are new to the staff or have different jobs than at this time a year ago.
Those changes produced a different atmosphere in the locker room, the meeting rooms and on the practice field during organized team activities and minicamp. Whether it was enough to bring about new results remains undetermined.
“There’s a lot of new guys [but] it’s a positive sign,” left tackle Michael Roos said. “Sometimes [when] you get a lot of new guys it’s because you had to purge for the salary cap. It wasn’t like that [here]. It was just bringing in good, veteran guys to take over spots or compete for spots. I think it makes it exciting. … You can feel it. It’s a little different. People are more excited in getting ready for this year.”
The Titans went 6-10 in 2012 — only seven teams had fewer wins — and missed out on the playoffs for the fourth consecutive season. No team allowed more points than the 471 opponents racked up against Tennessee and among AFC franchises only Kansas City had a worse record against division opponents than the Titans’ 1-5.
Yet a sense of optimism was a common theme on this day.
“There’s — for us — a lot of high expectations,” coach Mike Munchak said. “We’re not happy with the way things ended last year, so this is our time to finally start doing something about it.”
The Titans will have 11 workouts before their preseason opener, Aug. 8 against Washington. Camp breaks Aug. 26, two weeks before the regular season begins Sept. 8 with a game at Pittsburgh.
“This is the most excitement I’ve had going into a training camp since I’ve been here,” cornerback Jason McCourty said. “As a player here it makes it a lot of fun. … We’re looking forward to just raising our game. We know when you’ve been losing you have to do something if you want change. We’ve already made changes to the roster. Now it’s up to us as players to go out there, compete on the practice field and improve.”
Otherwise all that change will not have made a difference.
• Tight end Delanie Walker (knee), wide receiver Kevin Walter (back) and safety Robert Johnson (foot) all will open training camp on the physically unable to perform list. Walker and Walter each had surgery since the end of minicamp in June and the start of training camp.
Walker is likely to be added to the active roster before the end of camp. Walter probably will miss the entire preseason.
• Tackles Michael Roos (back) and David Stewart (leg), and guard Andy Levitre (knee) have been cleared for full activity but the workload for each will be monitored and limited, particularly during the early part of camp.
• Wide receivers Kenny Britt and Justin Hunter also have been cleared for full activity after having been limited during the offseason.
• Veterans Jackie Battle, a running back, and DeMarco Cosby, a tight end, were signed. To make room on the roster running back Alvester Alexander and quarterback Nathan Enderle were waived.
Battle is a six-year veteran who spent last season with San Diego. Cosby has been on the practice squads of three different teams during the last two seasons.