Jim Wyatt, Senior Writer/Editor, TitansOnline.com
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — New Titans safety Johnathan Cyprien plans to make some noise with his pads in Tennessee.
He’s hoping those around him – and players on the other side of the line of scrimmage – notice.
“It just sets the mentality of how a game is going to go,’’ Cyprien said of his physical style of play. “It scares wide receivers, not only for the rest of that game, but for whoever turns on that tape. So when they have to run a route and come across the middle they don’t even go for it sometimes.
“So it is just a mentality, and it’s what you want your defense to be known for — you want to be physical and stout.”
A former second-round pick of the Jaguars back in 2013, Cyprien signed with the Titans last week. He’s played the past four seasons in Jacksonville, where he’s been a productive — and physical player.
“He’s an aggressive hitter, strong in coverage,’’ Titans general manager Jon Robinson said of Cyprien. “He really battles at the point of attack, when the ball is in the air vs. those tight ends. He’s an instinctive player, good blitzer, heavy hitter. He’ll really help us in the back end.”
Last season, Cyprien started all 16 games for the Jaguars and recorded 127 tackles, one sack, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and four passes defensed. Pro Football Focus rated Cyprien the No. 7 safety in 2016.
“Tennessee is the right fit for me, because I think this scheme is No.1 — I think I can really prosper here,” Cyprien said. “Tennessee is definitely on their way. We won nine games — and I am saying we from now on. We won nine games last year and were one short of making the playoffs. I think this is the year we will continue to make a bigger step and continue to move forward.”
Cyprien will join a safety group that includes Kevin Byard, a third-round pick in last year’s draft who racked up 63 tackles, a sack, five tackles for a loss and five passes defensed in 2016. Safeties Da’Norris Searcy and Curtis Riley also remain under contract, while Rashad Johnson and Daimion Stafford became free agents on Thursday at the start of the new league year.
Cyprien has a reputation for being sturdy in run support. He’s racked up 453 tackles and two sacks in four NFL seasons, along with a pair of interceptions. He’s totaled at least 100 tackles in each of his first four NFL seasons.
Now, after competing with the Titans four seasons, he’s ready to help.
“My thought is we’re going to be the best thing Tennessee has ever seen,” Cyprien said of Tennessee’s secondary, which will also now include former Patriots cornerback Logan Ryan, who also signed last week.
“I think it is going to be smooth,’’ Cyprien said of the transition. “We have respect for each other. I have a respect for Delanie (Walker), I have a respect for Marcus (Mariota). And I think that trumps everything. Now that we get to join forces I think that we could just look at opposing teams and feel like no one can beat us.”