Tight End Jonnu Smith Steps Up Big for Titans in Sunday's Win

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NASHVILLE – The Titans were missing receiver A.J. Brown, and on this day, the Jaguars were set on slowing down running back Derrick Henry.

Someone needed to step up, and it didn't take long to find out who that someone would be in the team's 33-30 win.

Tight end Jonnu Smith caught a 63-yard pass from quarterback Ryan Tannehill on the first offensive play of the game, and he capped off the drive with a touchdown catch.

It was one of two scores for Smith, a player Titans head coach Mike Vrabel never hesitates to praise.

"He continues to improve, he's a great teammate, he's an unbelievable player to coach and to be around every day," Vrabel said of Smith. "I've always admired his upbringing – I know his mom has done a fantastic job raising him. He's a great teammate, he works hard, and you are always happy to see good things happen to those type of people."

Smith's first score of the day was a 13-yard touchdown catch on 2nd-and-9.

Smith later scored on a four-yard touchdown pass from Tannehill on third-and-goal from the Jacksonville four-yard line.

Smith had four catches for 84 yards in the contest, and he now has three touchdowns in the team's first two games. Smith caught a one-yard touchdown pass in the season opener at Denver.

Smith said he felt a great sense of responsibility entering his first season with the team as "tight end 1." Smith, drafted in the third round of the 2017 NFL Draft by the Titans, started previous seasons behind tight end Delanie Walker on the depth chart.

"I work hard, and I've been blessed with a God-given ability, and it would be a disservice to my teammates, to myself, if I didn't live that out," Smith said. "I've never started a season out as tight end 1, and with that comes a lot of great things. You are able to have more opportunities to make plays and put yourself, put your team, in a better position to win. I just work really hard, and I am just so blessed and humbled to be able to showcase everything that I have been blessed with and work for."

Smith also said the feeling about his head coach is mutual.

In addition to Smith, receivers Adam Humphries and Corey Davis also had touchdown catches for the Titans on a day when Tannehill completed 18-of-24 passes for 239 yards and four touchdowns.

"I've played this game for a long time, and to me, the best coaches that I've been around were those who were more than coaches, and that's what you've got in Coach Vrabes," Smith said. "He is more than a coach, and you don't just see the football side of him -- you see genuine love and care for all of his players. And I respect the heck out of him for that, to come in here and actually care about what is going on in our lives outside of football.

"To be around a man like that for the past few years has been great for me, and I am blessed to have the opportunity to be coached by a man like him. I am just happy to be here, and happy to be a part of this organization."

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