Titans excited by Tennessee adding coach Dick LeBeau to defense after 2-14 season

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NASHVILLE, Tennessee — Going 2-14 generally doesn't create a lot of buzz for a team as a free agent destination.

Hiring a Hall of Famer in defensive coach Dick LeBeau has plenty excited about his arrival in Tennessee this offseason.

Outside linebacker Brian Orakpo is looking to re-ignite his career after suffering a torn pectoral muscle in 2014. And he said Monday that LeBeau made moving to the Titans from the Washington Redskins an easy decision for him as a free agent.

"I get to get coached by the living legend, Dick LeBeau himself. It was hands down a no-brainer," Orakpo said as the Titans started their offseason program.

LeBeau, 77, will oversee the Titans defense after leaving the Pittsburgh Steelers in January. He joins familiar faces in Titans coach Ken Whisenhunt and defensive coordinator Ray Horton with all three previously working together as assistant coaches with the Steelers.

"There's no question that Dick has been in this league a long time and he's been very successful," Whisenhunt said. "Another set of eyes and what he brings to table will help us get better."

The Titans signed not only Orakpo but safety Da'Norris Searcy and cornerback Perrish Cox to improve their defense. They brought back linebacker Derrick Morgan and also re-signed defensive lineman Karl Klug among their bigger moves.

LeBeau's influence and what the Titans hope he brings to a defense that ranked 27th overall last season goes far beyond just being a coach. LeBeau's 3-4 scheme is copied and emulated all around the NFL and has been for years. Orakpo said the Redskins studied many elements of LeBeau's system during his time in Washington.

"His resume speaks for itself with all of the All-Pros and Pro Bowlers he's coached, from the James Harrisons, to the (LaMarr) Woodleys to the Joey Porters. This defense is built for outside backers," Orakpo said. "When I knew he was coming on board, it kind of made the transition a lot easier. I knew what he was all about.

"When I was in Washington, all we did was study Pittsburgh's stuff, and what he brought to the table with those guys and how he ran their defense. I knew what James Harrison was going to do before James Harrison knew what he was going to do, as much as we studied it. So I was very excited."

Even Titans who suffered through last season are excited to see what LeBeau can bring to their defense.

"Oh, man, to work with a legend is going to be great," defensive end Jurrell Casey said. "We have some good coaches, but I think he's one of the best. To have him under my belt, I think it's going to push me to that next level."

Notes: The Titans also signed LB Kaelin Burnett on Monday. They signed Burnett off Arizona's practice squad in November, and he played five games last season with three special teams tackles. He has played in 27 games in three seasons.


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