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Titans Safety Kevin Byard: Julio Jones is Walking Into a Winning Culture


NASHVILLE – Not long after the Titans landed receiver Julio Jones in a trade with the Falcons, safety Kevin Byard welcomed the seven-time Pro Bowler to town in a message on social media.

On Monday, Byard met Jones at Saint Thomas Sports Park when he arrived in Nashville and met with many of his new teammates, coaches and other team officials.

"It is a big get for us," Byard said of Jones. "As I got the news, I was picturing A.J. (Brown) and Julio going over the top of defenses, and you have Derrick (Henry) in the backfield, (Ryan Tannehill) and all the boys. Our offense on paper is definitely explosive but obviously we have to put it together and make a run at this thing.

"(Julio) is walking into a winning culture, an environment of guys coming in every day with a hard hat, ready to work. And everybody is all-in in trying to win a championship."

Byard, a sixth-year pro and a team captain in 2020, made his comments on SiriusXM NFL Radio on Monday.

In the interview, Byard spoke further on the impact Jones could on his new team.

"Julio Jones is one of the best, if not the best receiver of our era," Byard said. "The guy is an incredible talent, and his stats show it all. We are happy to have him in the locker room, and (I'm) going to be able to learn a lot from him, the things that he has seen, the things that he has done in this league. He is just an incredible get for us."

Byard said the news over the weekend created quite a buzz with those close to him.

"I got a lot of text messages from family and friends, saying 'Super Bowl or bust'," Byard said with a smile. "It was an exciting time. Guys in the locker room this morning were kind of discussing it and talking about it. We're excited to get a guy like (Julio) with his pedigree and the things he's been able to accomplish in this league."

WR Julio Jones visits Saint Thomas Sports Park after agreeing to terms with the Tennessee Titans on Sunday, June 6. (Donald Page)

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.

Jones is Atlanta's all-time career leader in receptions (848), receiving yards (12,896) and 100-yard receiving games (58), and his 60 touchdown receptions rank second.

Jones will make an already potent offenses even better, Byard said.

"Having Derrick back there in the backfield, all defenses have to respect him, whether they are putting eight men in the box at times, nine men in the box, whatever they have to do to stop the run," Byard said. "That's going to be a lot of opportunity for Julio and A.J. and all the other receivers that we have to get one-on-one coverages, to get favorable matchups, to be able to win one-on-ones.

"Obviously, we've seen A.J. Brown takes slants to the house, and obviously we've seen Julio do that numerous times in his career. So, defenses are going to have a lot of trouble game-planning against us every week, because if you try and double Julio or slide the safety to Julio's side, you're going to have A.J. on the other side. I like our matchups, and I know our offensive coordinator and coach (Mike) Vrabel are going to do a lot of different (things) to line those guys up in different places – Julio in the slot, A.J. in the slot, and we can move guys all around."

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