NASHVILLE - It took wide receiver Michael Preston three years during the Mike Munchak era to show the Tennessee Titans offensive staff that he was worthy of a spot on the 53-man roster.
Now, he starts all over in trying to impress Ken Whisenhunt and the new coaching staff.
Preston, an undrafted free agent from tiny Heidelberg College in Ohio, came to the Titans in 2011 and stuck on the practice squad. The next season, he spent most of his time on the practice squad, but did manage to sneak his way onto the 53-man roster for four games in 2012 and had five catches. Last season, Preston made the 53-man roster initially, then was bumped back to the practice squad for a time, and finally returned to finish the season on the roster, getting into seven games and adding five more receptions, including a pair of touchdowns.
All of that equals progress, but now with Whisenhunt bringing in his offense, Preston is back to square one for the Titans, trying again to prove he belongs and now having to do so in a completely different system.
But the 25-year-old says it is no big deal. In fact, it's something he is used to by now.
"Every year you've got to prove yourself, especially a guy coming from my position. Through these OTAs, I'm just taking it one day at a time and trying not to make the same mistake twice and keep polishing up my game," said Preston.
One thing he will have in his favor is that Whisenhunt elected to keep receivers coach Shawn Jefferson from Munchak's staff, so that will give Preston and the other receivers a bit of continuity, even if the system is now completely different.
"It means a lot. It means everything to our group. We know what to expect and know what's expected of us. Going into a season that's going to be a grind for us, it's good to know that you have a coach that's been through it and is going to keep pushing to get the best out of you," Preston said. "It's a totally new makeover, a whole different system, but I have had a little experience back in college in it, so it makes me a little more comfortable in it. It lets me know there's a lot of plays to be made out there."
Whisenhunt said it is still too early to determine the pecking order behind Kendall Wright, Nate Washington and Justin Hunter in the Titans' receiver rotation. There is even the likelihood that he and general manager Ruston Webster will sift through final training camp cuts and add another wideout if they feel there is an upgrade from the current group that includes Preston, Marc Mariani and journeyman Brian Robiskie.