Below is my exclusive interview with Tennessee Titans TE Anthony Firkser. For simplicity, the questions are marked with a “Q” and are in italics. Anthony’s answers are simply marked by an “A”.
Q: Firstly, Anthony, thank you for taking the time out of your day to complete this interview. It is greatly appreciated. After going undrafted in the 2017 NFL Draft, you worked your way onto the New York Jets practice squad and spent time with the Kansas City Chiefs practice squad as well. After signing with Tennessee, you worked your way onto the active roster and stumbled upon a large role in the offense as the season progressed. How do you think being a member of these practice squads prepared you to suit up for your first professional action?
A: Being a part of practice squads gave me the ability to learn more about my position and offensive/defensive schemes from a details standpoint while being able to compete against the starting defensive players week to week.
Q: As the season progressed, Titans fans and football fans alike were becoming more impressed by your game. And after your first touchdown reception, a 12 yard catch from Marcus Mariota in the 26-22 win against the Jets, your impressive contributions to the offense became even more apparent. With that being said, what do you think is the best part of your game, and what part of your game would you like to improve, specifically?
A: I think the best part of my game is my catching ability and an area that needs improvement is being a more consistent and powerful blocker on runs and pass protection.
Q: The Titans TE group proved to be one of the deepest in the league following the injury to your teammate, Delanie Walker. Heading into this offseason with a loaded TE group featuring a returning Walker, Jonnu Smith, MyCole Pruitt, and yourself, how does this depth and talent motivate you? Has it been helpful having Walker around as a veteran presence as a young player?
A: Having Delanie Walker around is an amazing asset for a younger player to learn from. With his experience in the league for so many years and with how successful he’s been, I am constantly learning from all the little details he provides the younger players in addition to observing how hard he works on and off the field to continue to excel in this league.
Q: After finishing the 2018 season with 19 receptions for 225 yards and a TD, you shattered the expectations of thousands of people. Heading into the 2019 season, what are your own expectations for yourself?
A: I want to continue to improve in all areas of my position in addition to the various roles I played on special teams.
Q: Much like yourself, the Titans are generally viewed as an up-and-coming team. With General Manager Jon Robinson’s free agent moves this offseason and the draft upcoming, the team has had the chance to add even more talent to the roster. After barely falling short of the playoffs in a bitter loss to the Indianapolis Colts, what do you think this team can accomplish this season?
A: We’re just focused on the offseason program and working on areas that need improvement.
Q: Being from New Jersey, did you ever envision yourself ending up in Nashville? Additionally, what are your thoughts on the city and fans?
A: Not really, but after moving around from team to team I realized I could end up in any city. And after playing here for a year I’m extremely grateful for all the Titans fans. They’re very loyal and committed and we always get a great turn out at games and during training camp. I also enjoy spending time in the city, the live music scene is always a good time and I personally love trying new restaurants all around the city and I have yet to be disappointed with any of them.
Q: Aside from football, you’ve managed to accomplish many impressive achievements that most wouldn’t dream of doing. After graduating from Harvard in 2017 with a degree in applied mathematics, you could’ve had your choice of any job on the market. What motivated you to pursue football over any other career choice?
A: I knew I always loved competition and to be able to constantly have that against some of the top athletes in the world was definitely something that motivated me to pursue this career. In addition, I truly enjoy being able to learn football from some of the greatest players and coaches at the highest level.
Q: Before coming into the league, many projected you to become a Fullback at the NFL level, but you’ve worked your way into significant playing time at TE. Do you prefer to play a specific position on the field? And, more broadly, if you could play any position on the defensive side of the ball, what position would you choose and why?
A: I enjoy either position and I’m willing to play in wherever an offense sees that I fit best. On defense, I’d choose safety. I would enjoy playing man to man defense on routes and still being able to react to the ball and get interceptions.
Once again, thank you so much for taking the time to share these responses. On behalf of all Titans fans, we look forward to seeing you back on the field, continuing your journey and continuing to impress us all. Good luck in the offseason, and good luck next season, but most importantly, Titan Up!