Titans’ Nick Dzubnar brings ‘hair on fire’ approach to special teams

The Tennessee Titans inked inside linebacker Nick Dzubnar to a one-year contract earlier this offseason to assume the role of special teams ace, and he’s ready to bring the same approach that worked so well for him as a member of the Los Angeles Chargers. So, what’s Dzubnar’s (pronounced duh-ZOOB-nar) […]

The Tennessee Titans inked inside linebacker Nick Dzubnar to a one-year contract earlier this offseason to assume the role of special teams ace, and he’s ready to bring the same approach that worked so well for him as a member of the Los Angeles Chargers.

So, what’s Dzubnar’s (pronounced duh-ZOOB-nar) approach exactly?

Well, it’s simple really: the 29-year-old likes to play with nonstop effort and at “100 miles an hour with my hair on fire,” according to Jim Wyatt of Titans Online.

“I feel like that’s why the Tennessee Titans brought me here,” he said. “I can’t tell you if there’s a certain trick, all I know is to go 100 miles an hour with my hair on fire — 100% effort, nonstop, nonstop, nonstop until I get to the ball carrier or whatever it is, whoever is returning. I think it’s more of a mindset and attitude that I had, growing up, playing sports.

“That’s helped me excel especially in special teams, because special teams to me is a dogfight every single one. Whether it’s punt, punt return, kickoff, kickoff return, it’s just a straight fight. If it’s a one-on-one battle, it’s you against the other guy. I don’t like to lose. I look forward to good competition with other good special teams guys, and like I said, it’s a battle. It’s a fight. I like to think that I can come out on top.”

Dzubnar does have somewhat big shoes to fill in his first year in Nashville.

The same role he’s taking over was once owned by inside linebacker Daren Bates, who proved to be a valuable player on special teams the past three seasons but remains a free agent and is likely done with the Titans.

While we can expect Dzubnar to make the cut and have a key role on special teams in 2020, it remains to be seen if he’ll be the fourth inside linebacker on defense behind Jayon Brown, Rashaan Evans and David Long, as he’s played a grand total of 65 defensive snaps during his five-year career.

Normally we wouldn’t put much thought into the bottom of the depth chart at inside linebacker, but the Titans needed every single one on the roster in 2019 after Brown dealt with injuries. Thankfully, the Titans had sensational depth at the position, with Long and veteran Wesley Woodyard serving as backups.

With Woodyard still on the open market and highly unlikely to return, Dzubnar may have to fill his shoes, also.

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