NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee Titans rookie receiver A.J. Brown’s career got off to a fast start, and he’s kept the speed up ever since.
On the field, Brown’s production has been a big part of the Titans offense’s turnaround over the last month. He’s become a solid weapon for his team.
Off of the field, Brown’s focus has been on developing mentally, gaining a better understanding of how to identify and beat certain coverages. Those efforts are what several people within the Titans building believe has most contributed to his steady growth.
A.J. Brown: “We’re trying to improve each day.” pic.twitter.com/9LN0pBiOHe
— AtoZSports Nashville (@AtoZSports) December 11, 2019
“He’s understanding coverages,” head coach Mike Vrabel said. “I think that’s something that we always try to work on with anybody—understanding coverages, being able to quickly identify man coverages versus zone coverages.
“I think he’s grasping a hold of the offense better, learning the concepts and things like that,” WR Tajaé Sharpe said.
In college, Brown developed a reputation as a “film junkie,” frequently spending hours in front of a screen studying the game and trying to gain a better grasp of his responsibilities.
Thankfully for the Titans, he’s translating that habit to the NFL.
“It’s getting late in the season,” Brown said. “We have to go out there physically but the mental part—I’ve been studying a lot, trying to learn as much as I can. I’m still working each day, trying to get better.”
One of the fruits of Brown’s labors has been his knack for creating big plays for the Titans offense. Most recently, he hauled in a 91-yard touchdown against the Raiders.
He can be explosive by stretching the field vertically and by turning short throws into big gains with his physicality.
Through Week 14, Brown has the sixth-most yards after catches among NFL wide receivers with 367. His 12.77 average yards-per-target is higher than any total ever accomplished by an NFL rookie receiver over the course of a season.
“You throw him an underneath pass and you don’t know if it’s going to be an 8-yard gain or an 80-yard gain,” QB Ryan Tannehill said. “It’s always exciting to see him with the ball in his hands”
— Tennessee Titans (@Titans) December 8, 2019
As Brown continues to progress mentally, his role within the Titans offense will surely increase. That’s something Tannehill hopes the team will be able to do moving forward.
“He’s a guy who’s playing with a lot of confidence right now,” Tannehill said. “We’ve seen what he can do, and we want to keep expanding that. Not only accent the things that he’s already shown to do well, but expanding him slowly week in and week out and adding more things to his repertoire.”
Up next for Brown is a matchup with the Houston Texans’ leaky pass defense, currently sixth-worst in the league in terms of yards allowed.
Cover image: Stan Szeto/USA Today