No sooner had the Tennessee Titans opened their doors on training camp than the first distraction of 2020 reared its head.
Fortunately, for the Titans, it had nothing to do with the coronavirus pandemic, even though first-round pick Isaiah Wilson landed on the Covid-19 reserve list to start camp.
Instead, it surrounded the Titans prize free agent pickup of the offseason, Vic Beasley, who was a no-show for the Covid-19 testing and apparently didn’t bother to let his employers know of his whereabouts for two or three days after being AWOL.
Beasley’s position coach, outside linebackers coach Shane Bowen, is in the unique position of waiting for Beasley to show up, wondering about him and knowing only a little because their only contact during the offseason was through Zoom meetings.
He says Beasley, who had his effort and attitude questioned during his five years in Atlanta, will get every opportunity to prove himself in Tennessee.
“Honestly I have never even met him,’’ Bowen says. “I guess I think it’s unfair for me to even have any assumptions about anything, whether he works hard or whether he doesn’t work hard. Once we get him here, whenever that is, we’ll kind of see.
“One thing I will say, in our culture as a team and as a defensive unit, if you ain’t a hard worker it’s probably not going to work out too well. I think a lot of guys conform whether they are or they aren’t. They’re going to fit into our culture and it’s kind of the expectation level here.
“I’m going to go about it the same way I go about coaching all these other guys. There’s going to be high expectations so whether you make it or not make it, if you’re not a hard worker you’re probably not going to reach my expectation level.
“So that’s just the nature of the beast. But one thing I will say, I think just our culture in general, new guys, whoever they are, whether it’s Vic or anybody else, I think we’ve got a good culture established here from Jon Robinson, from the top down, in terms of what we’re looking for and what we want to see.”
Bowen says Beasley was attentive in the Zoom meetings this offseason, but admits the veteran pass rusher is a bit behind in terms of operating in the Titans defensive scheme due to the pandemic canceling in-person, offseason work.
“Obviously we had the spring and we had some Zoom meetings. Did all that kind of stuff and talked. I mean, it’s just it’s a unique situation in terms of that’s your first interaction. Talking to them, and we got all our other guys around too, so it is a little unique. But we’ve had good conversations, we’ve talked about things throughout the spring. I’m looking forward to getting him here,” Bowen adds.
“I think he got more and more comfortable as spring went on in terms of that. Honestly, we’ve probably met with him a lot more one-on-one than in a group setting even, just because all the other guys have been here. So we’re kind of trying to kind of add and expand from 100-level learning to 200-level learning, so so speak.
“So in terms of being able to expand their horizons a little bit, where Vic would start out at ground zero in terms of our defense. There’s probably a little bit more one-on-one than the group.”