FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- Flags flew. The Titans whined. Defensive coordinator Ray Horton told them to stop.
Illegal contact by defensive backs is a point of emphasis, and the officials overseeing this practice emphasized it like crazy.
Safety Michael Griffin drew two flags in one one-on-one period.
Defensive backs nearby on the sideline howled, and Horton snapped: "Leave the officials alone."
"It’s going to be tough," said the Titans senior-most cornerback, Jason McCourty. "The way that Super Bowl went last year with Seattle being able to dominate those receivers, I think it had a lot of impact on the point of emphasis this year. And something as small as putting your hand on a guy past five is going to get flagged. It's something they are working on. We talked to the officials when they were in Nashville and they said that they haven't done it. They are going to err on the side of caution and throw the flag. So it's up to us to practice good habits."
Coaches, McCourty said, have been screaming at defensive backs any time they have a hand on a receiver because they know officials are going to call it.
The Falcons defensive backs drew a lot of calls as well.
"It was the same way on the offensive side," coach Ken Whisenhunt said. "That's going to [sort] itself out. You've got to figure out what they are going to call and, to be quite frank, what you can get away with."
The second most popular call was offside, and Whisenhunt said he was upset by those.
Left guard Andy Levitre said he wasn't paying a lot of attention to the calls.
"You can't really hear what is being called or who it's on," he said.
Jake Locker said the calls made when he was on the field were mostly against Atlanta.
"It's not a concern for me," he said of what would be a gain. "It's exciting for me."