Shawn Jefferson on Hunter, his style, QBs

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- He’s a loud, in-your-face coach, but Shawn Jefferson has had a minimal media presence.

Monday, many of us got to talk with the Tennessee Titans receivers coach for the first time in training camp.

He talked of tough love for a group under construction and said Justin Hunter is at a better spot right now than Calvin Johnson was at a similar stage of his career.

“With rookie receivers it’s a process,” Jefferson said. “What you have to do is you have to throw them in the fire. I’ve been putting Justin in some bad situations, I knew the odds were pretty much stacked against him. Receivers learn best when they go through the fire, so I’ve been trying to put him through as many fights or fires or whatever you want to call that so that when we get to Pittsburgh we’re battle-ready.”

Jefferson said he’s had “lesser frustrations” with Hunter than he did as the Lions receivers coach in 2007 when Johnson was a rookie.

“If we were playing golf, he’s even right now,” Jefferson said. “He’s got a really good skill set. I’m really pushing the envelope with him. I’m probably pushing it a little bit too much, but it’ll be good for him.”

Jefferson also hit on a couple other key issues pertaining to his style and his group:

His style: When he came to the Titans his wife, Marla, told him, “I hope you don’t make these kids hate you.”

He really didn’t care, though.

My goal is to make sure that they get exactly what we are trying to do on offense,” he said. “I know I am (a jerk) sometimes. I’m good with that. But I know the things I am asking them to do are vital for their growth, and it’s vital for the betterment of this team.”

How guys have responded to him: “I’m tickled inside,” he said. “They just keep giving it and giving it and giving it. I’m sitting here, waiting, thinking, ‘There’s got to be a breaking point somewhere.’ The more I ask, the more they give. They are fully bought in and they are ready to go.”

The receivers’ responsibility to young quarterback Jake Locker: “I tell my guys, ‘We are Jake’s confidence,’” Jefferson said. “Wherever Jake throws it, we have to come up with it. We have to constantly make plays for him. Because we are directly responsible for his confidence, that’s the way I feel as receivers coach.”