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Titans WR A.J. Brown Should Benefit From the Arrival of Julio Jones


NASHVILLE – All the talk in recent days has been about Julio Jones.

Titans receiver A.J. Brown, who campaigned to bring the former Falcons receiver to the team in a trade, is just fine with that.

Now that Jones is on board, plenty of players on offense stand to benefit from the arrival of the seven-time Pro Bowler, and that group includes Brown.

A week ago, offensive coordinator Todd Downing and quarterback Ryan Tannehill discussed the challenges of getting Brown the ball when defenses focus on him.

The presence of Jones on the field undoubtedly will help the cause. No. 2, the number Jones has chosen to wear this fall, is certain to garner plenty of attention.

"A.J. fits into that playmaker category – those are guys that you look for ways to get them the ball, and rely on their strengths, and hope that they can ascend just like everybody else," offensive coordinator Todd Downing said last week. "I don't think there's a guy on offense that we feel like has arrived and is a complete product.

"A.J. is going to continue to work very hard to improve in every area he can, and I am excited to see the production he can have for us."

Even before the Titans landing Jones, the team was planning ways to make life easier for Brown, whose career is just taking off.

Brown was named a Pro Bowler in 2020 after his second straight 1,000-yard season. In 14 games last season, Brown caught 70 passes for 1,075 yards and 11 touchdowns. In his first two NFL seasons, Brown has 2,126 receiving yards and 19 touchdowns.

"Between our run game, and A.J.'s success in the past, you're going to see some different looks, and we'll look for different ways to get him singled up, and we'll look for ways to help him with different coverage indicators and things like that," Downing said. "But I think that will be fun to watch progress, and see where we can move him around, or expand his route tree a little bit, and watch him have successes as we expand it."

Jones will now draw attention to his side of the field.

In 10 NFL seasons, Jones has 12,896 receiving yards and 60 touchdowns, 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 said the presence of Jones will also inspire him even more.

"Just having someone like that in the locker room now, that I can just ask: 'What do I need to do here?' It is great," Brown said of Jones. "We talk all the time anyway, but having someone that close, and to see it on the field first-hand for yourself, it is great.

"To have him on the same (team) as me, it is going to raise my level of play, too, which is great."

Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill is looking forward to what's ahead.

He'll have some pretty good options when he drops back in the pocket in 2021, from Jones to Brown to Josh Reynolds and more.

Now, the Titans have to find ways to get guys open.

"A.J. is not going to sneak up on anybody – everyone kind of knows the talent he has and what he brings to the table," Tannehill said. "A.J. will continue to do his thing, and we'll have to be creative to find ways to make sure he gets his opportunities. Teams are going to account for A.J., and it is going to be a team effort and details by us to do everything we can to put him in good positions and then execute when we get there."

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