NASHVILLE – DaQuan Jones has seen plenty of change during his NFL career.
A fourth-round pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, the big defensive lineman has played under three head coaches and three defensive coordinators in Tennessee, and he's seen a lot of Titans teammates come and go inside the locker room. Jones has played on teams that finished 2-14 and 3-13, and he's played on four straight 9-7 teams, in five playoff games, and in an AFC Championship Game.
He's the longest tenured Titan on defense.
Through it all, Jones has put his head down, and worked. He's been one of the team's most under-the-radar players, while also being among the most dependable.
So, it's no surprise Jones thrived during an NFL offseason rocked by the coronavirus. With facilities across the NFL closed to players, Jones took it upon himself to get ready for the 2020 season.
"I think I had one of my better offseasons this year," Jones said on Friday. "I feel very ready, just did a lot of different type of training, cross-fit training. I feel ready to go."
When the 2019 season ended, Jones couldn't have predicted how this offseason would play out.
Instead of working with the team's strength and conditioning coach and staff, he began using his wife's trainer, Kevin Andres of K Squared Fitness, when he'd come by the house to work with his wife. Katie Andres, a certified nutrition coach and health/ fitness guru, also came by to work with Jones and his wife, Alexis.
The 6-foot-4, 322-pounder changed his training approach as a result, adding a lot of high-intensity cardio with his work lifting weights.
"I decided to one day take part and I kind of fell in love with it," Jones said. "(Kevin) does a lot of HIIT training and cross-fit type stuff and … it really helped transform my body going into the season. Big shout out to Kevin for doing that for me."
In 2020, Jones wants to keep doing his part to help the Titans on defense.
In 2019, Jones started all 16 games for the fourth time in his career, and for the second consecutive season. He achieved career highs with 21 quarterback pressures and three passes defensed while also posting 50 tackles, and one tackle for a loss. According to Pro Football Focus, Jones also played in 799 snaps without being called for a penalty.
"(I want to be) dependable and making sure I can be accounted for by my teammates," he said.
In 2018, Jones started 16 games and racked up 39 tackles with 14 quarterback pressures and a career-high four tackles for a loss. His 2017 season was cut short because of a bicep injury, which ended his streak of 45 consecutive starts. Jones had a career-high 3.5 sacks before the Dec. 4 injury.
On a defensive line that featured five-time Pro Bowler Jurrell Casey, oftentimes Jones was shorted praise for his efforts, even though coaches and teammates sure appreciated his contributions. In 2018, Jones was rewarded with a contract extension that's now set to expire after the 2020 season.
With the addition of first-round pick Jeffery Simmons in last year's draft, Jones has already found himself among those answering questions about the potential of the 19th overall pick. It's all good with Jones, because the two are good friends. In fact, Simmons joined Jones for some of those in-house workouts this offseason.
Jones said he wants to help Simmons achieve greatness.
"I mean, I thought we all got a glimpse of that last year when he came in and wrecked shop," Jones said of Simmons. "I'm just excited for him to come out there fully healthy and do what he does best, be a big, dominant player.
"With Big Jeff, (I) like just helping him in any way I can. … So just taking on more of a leadership role and helping the young guys learn."
Jones, of course, plans to wreak some havoc himself, alongside his teammates.
He said he's also happy to be on a contender, knowing he was a part of the culture change in Tennessee. He made it clear he'd like to stick around for years to come.
"I just come to work every day, put my head down and plow away," he said. "Really, that's all I do. It's crazy to think that I'm the only guy here from even when we went 2-14. It's a blessing at the end of the day, but I'm a guy that comes in with my head down to work. I'm just thankful.
"It's way different (than my early year here). I mean, the vibe in here is crazy. I know how it feels to go through a 2-14 season. It's not fun, at all. I mean, the joy is not in it. … So for me to … be on a team like this is a blessing."