NASHVILLE, Tennessee – The Tennessee Titans were tied last season for the league’s second-strongest offense, but Sunday’s trade with the Atlanta Falcons to wide receiver Julio Jones has the potential to take them in. another plane.
Jones, who the Titans acquired for a second-round draft pick in 2022 and a fourth-round draft in 2023, is reporting a career-wide 848 receptions for 12,896 yards and 60 touchdowns for the Titans after a decade in the league.
Tennessee struck a good offensive balance with AJ Brown recording his second straight 1,000-yard season and Corey Davis coming within 16 yards of his first. It would have been the first time the Titans had two 1,000-yard receivers in the same year since Derrick Mason and Drew Bennett in 2004.
Davis switched to the New York Jets via free agency, which left a void against Brown. Titans general manager Jon Robinson has recruited former Los Angeles Rams extended player Josh Reynolds to help him. However, Jones’ presence gives the Titans a much more formidable option to prevent opposing defenses from bracketing and overtaking Brown.
“It takes some of the tension away from me and with Derrick [Henry] and Ryan [Tannehill] with Antoine [Firkser]Brown told ESPN on Sunday. “To have another dominant guy on the other side, everyone has to be honest. Now you don’t know who is going to hold whom. I can get CB1 or Julio can get CB1. But whoever gets CB2, [that cornerback] going to be in trouble. It’s gonna be fun.”
Freshman offensive coordinator Todd Downing spoke last week about finding ways to expand Brown’s game in his third season in the NFL.
“We’ll be looking for ways to single him out, ways to help him with different coverage metrics and things like that,” Downing said of Brown. “See where we can move it, expand its road tree a bit, and watch it succeed as we expand it.”
It’s not just Brown who will benefit from Jones’ arrival. The Titans faced eight defensemen in the box in 23.1% of their shots last season, more than any other team in the NFL. That’s because the defenses prepared to stop Derrick Henry who had 2,027 rushing yards.
“Derrick is going to do his thing. We all benefit from Derrick. You have to play him honestly,” Brown said.
The Falcons faced eight in the box in 12.5% of their shots last year. Jones will have plenty of opportunities to face single cover and thrive on deep playing passes against single cover from Tannehill.
Dating back to his college days at Ole Miss, Brown has carefully studied Jones’ play. He even traded jerseys with Jones after the Titans beat the Falcons 24-10 in week four of Brown’s rookie season. The third-year wide receiver is thrilled to have Jones as a teammate.
“He’s a big catcher like me, but the special thing about him is that he runs like a little guy,” Brown said. “The physical part of his game is crazy. He plays with domination. He can beat you over and beat you under. He has no flaws in his game. For me in college he was teaching me. everything and I didn’t even know it, that’s when I didn’t know him and I was looking at him.
The Titans’ depth chart now has Brown, Jones and Reynolds – all at least 6 feet tall – as the top three receivers. All three are able to play in the slot machine or outside. This gives Downing the opportunity to move the guys through the lineup to generate clashes that favor the Titans. Downing liked the versatility of the Titans’ grand reception hall before adding Jones.
“The more you can do for our offense and the more tasks you can do, the more opportunities you will have to play,” said Downing. “Our band really embodies and embraces the ‘where can you plug me in and play me’ mentality. Since you have more versatile pieces that you can use in different positions, it opens things up for everyone, and we’re excited about it. that. “