"Why Not Me?": Titans WR A.J. Brown Has Found Ways to Make Himself Even Better in 2020


NASHVILLE – A.J. Brown isn't about making preseason predictions.

The Titans receiver isn't about to sell himself short either.

When someone asks Brown if he can lead the NFL in receiving yards and touchdowns this fall, his answer is simple: "Why not me?"

"That's my approach with anything," Brown said. "Other guys do it, so, "Why not?"

Brown was a playmaker for the Titans in 2019, when he led all rookies with 1,051 receiving yards while also scoring eight touchdowns among his 52 catches.

Brown became the first rookie since Hall of Famer Randy Moss (1998) to have a minimum of 50 catches, 1,000 receiving yards and five touchdowns while averaging 17-plus yards per catch, plus four touchdown catches of 50-plus yards. He was the only NFL rookie since 1970 with 1,000-plus receiving yards and an average of 20-plus yards per reception, and he led the NFL with 605 receiving yards over his final six games of the regular season.

Brown said he's watched a lot of film on himself this offseason, and he's found ways to improve. He knows one challenge he'll face this year is everyone will be gunning for him.

"Julio Jones, Michael Thomas – everybody knows they're coming, but you still have to go out and play," Brown said of some of the NFL's best receivers. "That's my approach. Regardless of the film, whatever I did last year, nobody cares about that. You still have to come out and play every week, and that is what I learned last year, week in and week out."

Brown has also worked this offseason to get into the best shape of his playing career.

While watching film this offseason, he noticed he looked fatigued in the fourth quarter of games during his rookie season, and thinks he perhaps gave some things away as a result because of poor technique and giving hints to DBs about his routes.

"(I have to) make sure my pad level is the same all the way through the whole route," Brown said. "Just not putting on your turn signal before you turn."

"I have to be able to go through the entire game and make my routes look the same," Brown added. "I have to be well-conditioned, and that's what we preach with the Titans. It's a key thing with Coach (Mike) Vrabel. … Looking back at some film, I left some plays out there because I was a little tired. I want to be all-around complete."

Brown, who finished third in the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year category a year ago, said he feels like a different player heading into training camp compared to last year, when he spent a good part of the offseason getting ready for the NFL Draft.

Earlier this offseason, Brown said part of his plan includes catching 1,000 footballs a day.

"I am definitely in a better place (physically), and I'm in a better shape mentally as well," Brown said. "Last year I was flying and going places, and I never could really sit still and put in the work.

"So I had time (this offseason) to get my feet up under me, and I really put in the work to get myself in the best shape possible coming into camp. It is only going to get tougher – we are going to Denver (in Week One), and the air is really thin up there."

During a video conference call on Monday, Brown said he's also following the best advice anyone has ever given him as a pro.

It came from future Hall of Fame quarterback Tom Brady during Titans-Patriots joint practices a year ago in Nashville.

"He told me: Work on the things you know you need improvement on, so you won't have no weakness," Brown recalled. "Everybody works hard, but everybody knows what their weakness is. Work on your weakness so you have no weakness."

A look back at wide receiver A.J. Brown's rookie season that included 52 receptions for 1,051 yards and 8 touchdowns in 2019. (Photos: Donald Page)

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