Horton: Four games before we see true D

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Ray Horton isn’t asking for patience.

From the beginning, the Tennessee Titans' new defensive coordinator said he knows recent transitions to 3-4 fronts in the AFC South have gone well and quickly.

(See “Altered defensive fronts don’t need time” from June 6.)

He expects to be able to game plan with what he has and produce results.

But familiarity and confidence in a new scheme -- no matter how simple it is, no matter how straightforward -- things are virtually certain to get better in time.

How long will it be before Horton has a good enough feel for his pieces and those pieces have a good enough feel for his scheme before the Titans are able to get close to what they will be defensively?

Horton said eight games total counting the preseason, so at about the fourth game of the regular season.

“When you look at it, probably by the fourth regular-season game guys are going, ‘Oh, I get it, I get it,’” Horton said. “Because there are a lot of nuances to it. In Arizona we had a lockout and we struggled the first four weeks, because it’s different. Then all of a sudden, the light comes on where it's, ‘Oh, I get it, I get it.’

“In Cleveland it was kind of the same thing. We started off good against the run and maybe not so well against the pass, but then all of a sudden we started getting better and better. Of your solid group of guys that are actually going to get 90 percent of the reps it probably takes about four actual games to do it.”

The number of series the starting defense will get in the preseason amounts to roughly one game, he said. That and three regular season games should get the Titans close to where they will get defensively.

The Titans open at Kansas City, against Dallas, at Cincinnati and at Indianapolis.