As a youngster, Isaiah Mack learned about work ethic by watching his mother. Sequoyah Mack took care of the family while going to school to be nurse. She worked long hours as Mack began following his dream to play in the NFL. Mack, a defensive tackle who is set to begin his second season with the Titans, said he’ll never forget it.
“I wouldn’t be where I am today without her, I can promise you that,” Mack said of his mother. “She is an outstanding woman, just being able to take care of me and my brother and my cousins, and on top of that go to school. Watching her, I got to see what hard work really is. She is an amazing example of not just hard work, but of determination.
“It’s why I can never give up. I just try and keep up with her and I understand: You’ve got to do what you’ve got to do.” Mack, who starred at Chattanooga and made the Titans as an undrafted free agent last year, is working hard this offseason to enhance of chances of making the team again. And in 2020, Mack wants to make even more of an impact.
The 6-foot-1, 299-pound Mack played in 13 games for the Titans as a rookie in 2019, and he finished with 11 tackles, eight quarterback pressures and 1.5 sacks. After being inactive the last six games of the season, he’s already started to identify ways he needs to improve this offseason. “The experience last season, it was awesome,” Mack said. “To go on the run we went on, it was great. We got to see how good we could be. As for myself, I think the whole year was a learning experience.” Mack said he benefited from being around defensive linemen Jurrell Casey, DaQuan Jones, Jeffery Simmons and others.
“I learned a lot of things,” Mack said. “I learned from Jurrell about pass rush and learned from DaQuan and Jeffery about the run. I got put with a bunch of good guys I could learn from. I am glad I was put in a spot to learn from some good guys.”
This offseason, Mack said he’s working on his strength, and his technique. After spending the early part of the offseason training in Chattanooga, Mack returned to Nashville and more recently he’s been working with his teammates in town. He’s counting the days until training camp, when he knows he’ll have to prove himself all over again.
“The NFL, it’s a different level, and it’s important to win your one on ones when you have a chance,” Mack said.” They don’t come along that often, so you have to be able to win your one on ones and understand the playbook in depth to give yourself a chance. And Coach (Mike) Vrabel and (defensive line) coach T (Terrell Williams), they talk all the time about hustle, effort and finish. Nothing is more scary for an offense than 11 guys around the ball.
“I just want to keep getting better, keep improving. I feel like for everybody, no one is guaranteed anything. I know that’s the way I look at things. It is all about improving and trying to be the best player you can be. I know I’m going to work, and I’m going to do everything I can to get better so I can help the team.”