DRE Kamerion Wimbley is the first to admit the Titans’ defense has not played up to par, but he isn’t ignoring the progress the unit has made — or the potential it possesses.
One specific area where the Titans are slowly making strides is sacking opposing QBs, the biggest reason Wimbley received a five-year, $35 million deal to come to Nashville this offseason.
After generating just 28 sacks in 2011 — the second-lowest total in the NFL — the Titans have produced four sacks the first two weeks, with Wimbley’s first as a Titan resulting in what appeared to be a broken nose to Patriots QB Tom Brady in Week One.
Wimbley, 28, has collected 43½ sacks in 97 career games, and though he acknowledged “a couple other teams were interested” in his services after Oakland released him in a cost-cutting move in March, he didn’t bother making any other visits after meeting with the Titans.
“They were wanting me to come in and help out with their sack numbers and play defensive end, and that is kind of where I had my heart set — to go back to pass rushing like I did at Florida State,” Wimbley told PFW in a phone interview September 20th.
He wouldn’t go as far as to say he was miscast in Oakland — or by the Browns, the team that drafted him in the first round in 2006 — but Wimbley said he relished the opportunity to focus on what he feels he does best — utilizing his great get off and flexibility to quickly bend the edge and close on the quarterback.
Wimbley describes his experience thus far working with Titans pass-rush specialist Keith Millard, the club’s other big offseason hire to ramp up the pressure, as “enjoyable,” saying, “(Coach Millard) brings a lot of energy and enthusiasm … he’s constantly on us to perfect our craft.”
For Wimbley, the focus is having a counter move to supplement his great explosiveness. “They just want me to have two things that I do really well.”
In addition to generating sacks, Wimbley knows his young defensive teammates depend on his veteran leadership.
“I would definitely say that when it comes to the defensive line, I’m probably the leader and the guy that my teammates look up to. … I think my play is an example of how to go out and prepare for a game and how to bring it on Sundays. My teammates are watching me — and it’s important to go out and play with a lot of energy and take care of your assignments and execute.”