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NFL Team Report - Tennessee Titans - INSIDE SLANT

The Tennessee Titans have been sending messages to linebacker Zach Brown for two years now.

The question is whether or not he is receiving them.

On Saturday night, the latest message was delivered by Titans new head coach Ken Whisenhunt, who benched Brown for the opening series of the preseason opener against the Green Bay Packers for violating an undisclosed team rule.

"Zach had a little issue where he did something he wasn't supposed to do and that was punishment because of that," Whisenhunt said. "It wasn't a curfew situation, but it was a team rule that was not adhered to."

Whisenhunt declined to elaborate on the details of Brown's benching, saying, "I would describe it as pissing me off. That has to be more than significant than minor. In the grand scheme of things, I wanted to send a message.

"The purpose of doing that was to send him a message. Hopefully he got that message."

Whether Brown did or not remains to be seen. He said he was ready to put it behind him when asked about it following the game.

"He said I broke a team rule, so I broke a team rule. I've just got to put it behind me and turn the page," said Brown, who went into the game on the second defensive series. "What did he say? You've just got to go by what the head man says. I really can't elaborate on it. I'll just leave it at that. It was a mistake on my part. Everybody makes mistakes. You've got to flip the page on it. You've got to turn the page. You can't let that one mistake keep you down."

But it's not Brown's first mistake and not his first benching. Last year with Mike Munchak as head coach, Brown wound up in the doghouse and benched in one game with then-defensive coordinator Jerry Gray for his play late in the season.

Brown, a second-round pick by the Titans in 2012, was a guy who had a label coming out of the University of North Carolina as a talented but somewhat enigmatic player. Mike Mayock of the NFL Network famously tagged Brown as "allergic to contact" when the Titans selected him on draft day.

Brown's talent was hard to deny, though, and by the end of his rookie season, he had worked his way into the starting lineup and finished the year with 5.5 sacks.

Last year, he was expected to be one of the Titans top defensive playmakers, but slumped to just four sacks.

And while Whisenhunt was willing to give all the players a fresh start, Brown's came with a caveat.

"I think Zach needed to understand that he's under the gun here. He's got to prove to a new staff that he's going to do it the right way. There were things on tape from last year that weren't good, so hopefully that means Zach's working to show everybody," Whisenhunt said earlier in camp.

Brown had done well and was on what Whisenhunt termed "an upward plane" late last week before the incident Saturday night.

The direction that plane goes now apparently is up to Brown.

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