Getting better did not just mean getting back to full health for Jayon Brown.
After a dislocated elbow sent the Tennessee Titans linebacker to injured reserve with six games to go in 2020, of course he focused on getting back to 100 percent. And now, as a participant in this week’s organized team activities (OTAs), he is focused on being a leader for a defense that saw ample change throughout the offseason.
“My goal for this season is to always improve on my game overall with covering and tackling and just being a more complete player,” he said Thursday. “Overall, just be a leader and a playmaker for this team and keep on building on my strength and building on my weaknesses.”
Before his season ended, Brown was leading the Titans in tackling. He made 10 or more three times in a five-game span and averaged just over eight per contest.
Once sidelined, it was difficult for him to see his team go out and play while he sat and watched. However, it was during this time that he learned to take things one day at a time. It is a lesson that has followed him into this offseason as he prepares for what is to come in the fall.
“Just taking everything one day at a time,” Brown said. “It’s rough for anyone whose season gets cut short like that. It was great seeing the guys out there win games, but this year we build on that. Nothing that we did last year matters.”
Being sidelined for an extensive period also reminded Brown of how much he simply loves the game and appreciates good health during the football season.
“Playing football since a young age and up to now, I have a strong love of the game,” he said. “Not being able to participate last year definitely wasn’t the best feeling. I am glad to be back and healthy now, and to go out there and display my talents with this team and keep on building and growing.”
Brown signed a one-year contract with the Titans this offseason with the idea that he bet on himself and the possibility he could make more as a free agent in 2022. Yet, he doesn’t like to look at it that way. Instead, he views it as an opportunity to take football one game at a time, focusing on the here-and-now before it’s gone.
Still, there is the benefit of Brown returning to the system in which he has played the last three seasons under coach Mike Vrabel and his staff, as opposed to spending his first offseason back from injury learning the new playbook. He feels as though it only adds to his ability to play fast and hard on every down.
“Being in the system with these coaches, I know what is expected out of me. They know my talents and my strengths. They put me in great positions to win,” he said. “I am looking forward to going out there and making plays... helping my team win.”
Brown feels like he’s fully back. And with him, the Titans’ defense improves. He may not be on a long-term deal -right now - but to him that’s ok. He’s still ready, eager and waiting to make plays and lead this defense in the right direction.
“Even though it’s a one-year contract, I just take it day by day, game by game,” he said. “I am just getting ready to be a part of this season and be a part of the game with my teammates and make plays.”