Wesley Woodyard is entering his 11th season as an NFL linebacker, his fifth with the Tennessee Titans.

For Woodyard, however, the preparation has felt noticeably different.

‘It’s pretty cool to have a defensive-minded coach’

That’s because Titans first-year coach Mike Vrabel, who replaced Mike Mularkey, comes from the same world in which Woodyard and the others who play his position reside.

“When your coach is a (former) linebacker, you’ve got to come to work every day prepared to work, prepared to get coached and prepared to get better,” Woodyard told Jeff Rickard and Vic Carucci on The Opening Drive. “It’s pretty cool to have a defensive-minded coach, because you already know what he’s going to push you to become and what he wants out of you. It’s pretty cool seeing a guy like that on our sidelines, sharing his experience and telling us what he thinks about certain things.

‘I’m just trying to get him to sneak me in on the offense’

Vrabel was linebacker for the New England Patriots. Not only did he help them win three Super Bowls, he also proved to be a highly effective weapon when he lined up at tight end. Vrabel caught 10 passes, all for touchdowns, including one each in Super Bowls XXXVIII and XXXIX.

“I’m just trying to get him to sneak me in on the offense, trying to let me catch a touchdown pass,” Woodyard said with a laugh.

‘Everybody’s taking to our new coaching staff pretty well’

“(The coaches are) inspiring us to be the best players that we can be. They’re trying their best to put it out. At first it was kind of like, I wouldn’t say a college atmosphere but it was a more of, ‘Hey, guys, let’s come to work, let’s be excited and be enthused about everything.’ It’s coming along pretty well, so everybody’s taking to our new coaching staff pretty well. Coach Vrabel is a very hands-on coach that knows a lot of good coaching details that are going to help us be good players.”

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