Adding Julio Jones Provides a Big Boost, But Titans Know It's Time to Put in the Work

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NASHVILLE – Julio Jones is a marquee player who can score touchdowns, and sell jerseys.

In trading for the former Falcons receiver, the Titans have now assembled a trifecta of weapons as recognizable as any threesome in the NFL in running back Derrick Henry, receiver A.J. Brown, and Jones.

Plus, the team has a quarterback in Ryan Tannehill who has played at a Pro Bowl level since arriving in Tennessee.

But the players know it's going to take more than names to win games.

"We have to put the work in first," Brown said on Sunday. "We can't just be the best team on paper. We have to put the work in and get the chemistry going, feed off each other, and hold each other accountable.

"The sky is the limit for the offense. It is all up to us."

This offseason has been an emotional roller coaster for Titans fans who love offense.

After averaging 30.7 points per game in 2020, the Titans said goodbye to offensive coordinator Arthur Smith, who took over as head coach of the Atlanta Falcons. The Titans then promoted Todd Downing to take his place.

In free agency, receiver Corey Davis and tight end Jonnu Smith left to join the Jets and Patriots, respectively. Even after the Titans added former Rams receiver Josh Reynolds in free agency, many fans wondered if more help was coming.

On Sunday, the team traded for Jones, a seven-time Pro Bowler who is one of the league's best players. Jones arrived in Tennessee on Monday morning.

The addition of Jones gives the Titans another big weapon, but Tannehill agreed with Brown – there's plenty of work to be done.

"I am excited to bring Julio on board, to pair him across from A.J. on the other side is a really dynamic duo for our receivers. I am looking forward to what he can bring to the table," said Tannehill, who threw for a career-high 33 touchdowns in 2020. "But obviously there is a lot of work in front of us. We're going to have to feel each other out and get on the same page. I am looking forward to the work and I am looking forward to the good things that come after that.

"Nothing really changes for the way we want to do things. It just gives us another weapon, obviously. Last year we had a bunch of weapons as well, and guys that did a great job for us and have since moved on. Just figuring out how all the other pieces we have fit our team and using them to counterbalance each other. You can't fully focus in on Derrick, or focus in on A.J. Now we have somebody on the other side who requires a lot of attention as well. So, they all help balance out the defense and will create opportunities for the other guys."

The addition of Jones gives the Titans another big weapon, but Tannehill agreed with Brown – there's plenty of work to be done.

"I am excited to bring Julio on board, to pair him across from A.J. on the other side is a really dynamic duo for our receivers. I am looking forward to what he can bring to the table," said Tannehill, who threw for a career-high 33 touchdowns in 2020. "But obviously there is a lot of work in front of us. We're going to have to feel each other out and get on the same page. I am looking forward to the work and I am looking forward to the good things that come after that.

"Nothing really changes for the way we want to do things. It just gives us another weapon, obviously. Last year we had a bunch of weapons as well, and guys that did a great job for us and have since moved on. Just figuring out how all the other pieces we have fit our team and using them to counterbalance each other. You can't fully focus in on Derrick, or focus in on A.J. Now we have somebody on the other side who requires a lot of attention as well. So, they all help balance out the defense and will create opportunities for the other guys."

Henry, who won his second straight rushing title in 2020 with 2,027 yards, should benefit from the team's talented receiving corps.

A 6-foot-3, 220-pounder, Jones has 12,896 receiving yards and 60 touchdowns in his 10-year career, on 848 catches. He's caught over 100 passes in three of his seasons, and he had at least 80 catches and 1,300 yards in every year from 2014-19, with an average of 104 receptions for 1,565 yards during that time period.

Brown, meanwhile, was named a Pro Bowler in 2020 after his second straight 1,000-yard season. In two NFL seasons, Brown has 2,126 receiving yards and 19 touchdowns.

In four NFL seasons with the Rams, Reynolds played in 64 games, with 24 starts. He worked in the slot and on the outside at receiver during his career, and he's caught 113 passes for 1,450 yards and nine touchdowns.

Titans General Manager Jon Robinson hopes the addition of Jones will enhance the team's chances of winning games.

Now, he's ready to watch his guys work.

"We try to do our best to put all of our playmakers in position to make plays," Robinson said. "Derrick has been a big part of our offense, and that is not going to change. And the more pieces we can add around him to make defensive coordinator's jobs harder, I think that is part of our charge as a personnel staff – to try and add players that put stress on defenses, and the same thing (applies) on the other side of the ball.

"In my discussions with Julio, what's his No.1 goal, it wasn't about targets. His goal is to win, and that is the mindset we are looking for. … That is the mindset that he has, and that is the mindset we have as a football team."

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