Jaguars Catch Potential Break With Titans Ruling A.J. Brown Out For Week 2
The Tennessee Titans (1-0) are always one of the toughest opponents the Jacksonville Jaguars (1-0) draw each season, so the Jaguars will likely take any potential break they can get.
This week, it appears such break could be the absence of electric second-year receiver A.J. Brown, who head coach Mike Vrabel ruled out on Friday, just days ahead of Sunday's clash between the Titans and Jaguars. Brown had missed practice this week with a knee injury, and it appears the injury will keep Brown sidelined during the Week 2 divisional matchup in Nashville.
Brown was arguably the top offensive rookie in the NFL last season after recording 52 receptions for 1,051 yards (20.2 yards per catch average) and eight touchdowns. The No. 51 overall pick in 2019, Brown was second in the NFL in yards per catch and he was a walking big-play threat thanks to his rare blend of size, speed and power.
During Jacksonville's last game against the Titans, a 42-20 loss in Week 12 in Nashville last year, Brown caught four passes for 135 yards and a touchdown, including a 65-yard touchdown catch.
With Brown out Sunday, the Titans' passing game is going to rely on Corey Davis, slot receiver Adam Humphries and backup receiver Kalif Raymond. Raymond caught just nine passes in 2019 and had issues against the Denver Broncos on Monday night, while Davis recorded 43 catches for 601 yards and two touchdowns in 2019.
Simply put, this is good news for the Jaguars. Brown is the Titans' second-best offensive player and would have provided a physical matchup for rookie cornerback CJ Henderson. Instead, the Jaguars can now deploy Henderson on Davis and attempt to eliminate Tennessee's outside passing threats completely.
"They’re a physical group. Everybody talks about their two big dogs they have, but they also have a really good slot with [Adam] Humphries. So, they have three guys that can really obviously hurt you in the pass game and then they have a vertical threat. So, they’re a very talented group," Jaguars defensive coordinator Todd Wash said on Thursday, before Brown was ruled out.
"They’re big, they’re strong, and they’re physical and we have to do everything we can with these play actions to try to get our hands and disrupt some routes. Last week they were little scat, faster guys that we’ve seen and then this week’s the bigger type receivers, so it’ll be a good challenge. They’re totally different from what we’ve seen last week and it’s going to be a good challenge for our corners to see how they match up with those guys. They’re some of the cream of the crop in the league and we’re going to find out exactly where we’re at. It’s early on in the year, but it’s a good measuring stick to see where we’re at right now.”