Tennis balls helping WRs with breaks


NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- There are plenty of tennis balls to go with football on the Titans practice field.

I've seen defensive backs using them, but they are featured more in the work of the wide receivers.

Receivers coach Shawn Jefferson said the wideouts are using them as an aide for getting their bodies aligned properly to make breaks.

"Sometimes I have them grab a tennis ball [off the ground] and throw it to me before they come out of the break," Jefferson said. "You want your shoulders over your toes when you get to the break area. So if I tell them shoulders over toes, I've got to think of a drill where they can constantly keep their shoulders over their toes at the end of their routes.

"So I put a tennis ball down there. They've got to bend to get it to give it to me."

Kendall Wright said it's an effective way to emphasize shoulder over toes, learn how it feels and get that ingrained.

"They help a lot," Wright said. "You've always got to keep your shoulders over your toes. He preaches about it a lot. If not, you'll basically fall almost every time. You'll slip, you won't be balanced enough to get in and out of your breaks.

"You won't go as low when you're actually doing it, but he always over exaggerates his drills so you can be doing it right when you go out there in a game to do it."

There are volleyballs on the field, too. Defensive backs worked on lateral movement and change of direction at the last offseason practice Thursday. A coach rolled the ball to them and they had to move to it and get low to get their hands on it. Once they did, they had get it back to the coach, return to a center position and be ready for the next roll.