Voice of the Titans optimistic thanks to offseason changes
By Marcus Stone, Sports Editor
Offseason changes have Mike Keith, Voice of the Tennessee Titans, optimistic for the 2013 season.
Speaking to a crowd of approximately 80 people at the John Maher / Williamson Herald Scholar Athlete Banquet May 30, the 10-time Tennessee Sportscaster of the Year explained how the organization planned to improve from what he called “the toughest (season) I’d contend we’ve been through as an organization since we’ve been here.” The simple answer is through change.
The biggest move, in his opinion, was the hire of Greg Williams to the coaching staff.
“He is a mastermind,” Keith said. “He’s a guy that has a philosophy that Mike Munchak has wanted. He adds so much that Jerry Gray has wanted too.”
Williams became a controversial figure in the NFL after being suspended for a year due to his involvement in the New Orleans Saints’ bounty scandal in which there was an alleged system in which players were financially rewarded for injuring opponents. He was the Saints’ defensive coordinator at the time.
He has previously spent time with the Titans, Bills, Redskins, Saints, and Rams – being known for his aggressive brand of defense.
“Greg made a mistake in New Orleans,” Keith said. “There’s no question about it and he’s paid for it dearly. It literally cost him millions of dollars. Him coming back to us, his family where he was for 11 years, only makes sense.”
Aside from shifting coaches, change was seen at Baptist Sports Park as the Titans swayed from their traditional philosophy of building from the draft.
Once a team that showed little activity in free agency, the organization signed 16 players to the tune of a $110 million price tag.
“It’s hard to look in the mirror and admit you’re going to have to pivot and make a 180-degree turn,” Keith admitted. “For many years, we’ve based what we were doing largely on the draft.”
After a 6-10 season in which the roster was old at spots and too young at others, something had to change.
“We were not the team that was dramatic in free agency,” he said of past seasons. “Well, we went in the space of a couple weeks from being the team that develops through the draft to the team who will develop and come together by any means necessary.”
Be assured that fresh faces will be seen in Titan uniforms this fall as half of the current 90-man roster were elsewhere when the 2012 season ended.
A 1986 graduate and member of the Battle Ground Academy Hall of Fame, Keith continually returns to be the guest speaker at the John Maher / Williamson Herald Scholar Athlete Banquet.
He points out a big reason he continually returns is his relationship with Maher, which goes back to Keith being a seventh-grader at Franklin Junior High when Maher was a coach and teacher.
“He was the kind of coach and kind of teacher that everyone wanted to be associated with,” Keith said.
The seventh annual banquet would be Keith’s 102nd talk of 2013, 53 having taken place during fan tours of the Titans’ LP Field.
Speaking to scholar athletes from his home county never seems like work for Keith as he takes great pride in both the athletic and academic achievements from those in the area.
“In this county, where we have so many outstanding athletes and so many outstanding students, to put forth our athletes who are also doing a great job in the classroom – that’s fantastic.”
Photo by Carole Robinson
Posted on: 6/4/2013