The Titans offense will receive a huge lift on Sunday as receiver A.J. Brown is set to return to the lineup, per head coach Mike Vrabel. Julio Jones, however, will remain out with a hamstring injury.
Both Brown and Jones were out last week against the Jets and the results were about what you’d expect. Tennessee’s offense was abysmal in red zone, converting just 2-of-5 opportunities en route to a devastating 27-24 overtime loss to the Jets. Brown’s return should help, especially against the winless Jaguars at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday, but it’s hard to gauge where Tennessee’s offense is at without its two lethal weapons on the field at the same time.
Tennessee Titans wide receiver Julio Jones (2) makes a catch in the end zone above Seattle Seahawks linebacker Jordyn Brooks (56), but came down with one foot out of bounds during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 19, 2021, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson) (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Jones was brought in via trade during the offseason, with a second-round pick going back to the Falcons in the deal. Jones has struggled with hamstring injuries as he’s entered his thirties, a sign that his time on top might be waning.
That was the case in 2020, as Jones played in just nine games, albeit a productive nine games. Jones still managed to reel in 51 targets for 771 yards, which showed he could still play at a high level. Availability is your best ability, however, and Jones has been far from that for the Titans thus far.
CORRECTS TO JUNE 10, 2021, NOT MAY 27, 2021, AS ORIGINALLY SENT – Tennessee Titans wide receiver Julio Jones, right, stretches during NFL football practice Thursday, June 10, 2021, in Nashville, Tenn. (George Walker IV/Pool Photo via AP)
Brown, on the other hand, was projected to take a huge leap this season after back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons to begin his career. It’s clear quarterback Ryan Tannehill is looking his way even more this season, receiving a healthy 17 targets through the first two games before a hamstring injury struck in Week 3.
Sep 26, 2021; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Tennessee Titans wide receiver Julio Jones (2) and Tennessee Titans wide receiver A.J. Brown (11) before the game against the Indianapolis Colts at Nissan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports (Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports)
With one big time receiver back on Sunday in Brown, it’ll be interesting to see if the aerial attack gets going against Jacksonville’s defense. The Jaguars have managed far better against the pass than the rush through four games, which indicates that running back Derrick Henry could be in store for another 100-yard plus day on the ground.