Jeffery Simmons enters his second season with the Tennessee Titans with as much pressure as anyone on the roster. After general manager Jon Robinson traded five-time Pro Bowler, Jurrell Casey to the Broncos for a seventh-round pick, it was clear that the Titans are investing a substantial amount of trust in Simmons.
Simmons showed flashes of dominance in his injury-shortened rookie campaign last season, but the Titans now get to see their first-round selection in the 2019 NFL Draft fully healthy to begin the season.
The former Mississippi State Bulldog will be the anchor of a vastly improved defensive line. After the team acquired Vic Beasley Jr. and Jadeveon Clowney in the offseason, Simmons stands to be the benefactor as the two edge rushers, along with Harold Landry III, will be receiving most of the attention from opposing offensive lines.
Titans fans everywhere had to be overjoyed with Simmons’ performance in Week One on the road against the Denver Broncos. Simmons finished the game with four tackles and one fumble recovery, which he secured by diving on a ball that Kevin Byard poked loose.
While the turnover sparked some momentum on a Titans’ sideline in desperate need of a jolt, Simmons’ biggest play of the game came from a fourth down stop as the Broncos were knocking on the door, looking to take a 14-7 lead late in the second quarter.
Simmons, along with Will Compton, came up with a game-changing turnover after Broncos’ quarterback, Drew Lock, had shoveled a pass to Jake Butt one yard out from pay dirt.
Titans’ fans don’t have to go too far in their memory banks to recall that Simmons and his predecessor, Casey, had a similar goal line stand which turned the tide of the team’s season last year against the Los Angeles Chargers.
Simmons has athleticism in spades along with an uncanny sense of awareness and football IQ that is not often found in second-year players. The 23-year-old has stepped into more of a leadership role for the 2020 season. After learning under Casey and now lining up alongside team captain, Daquan Jones, Simmons is ahead of the learning curve.
If the Titans’ defensive line can stay healthy, Simmons and Co. will live in offensive coordinators’ nightmares all season long. While Casey is long gone, Titans’ fans can relax knowing that the team might just have found a younger, more athletic version of the Tatted Monster.
— Tennessee Titans (@Titans) September 15, 2020
Featured image courtesy of Geoff Burke/USA TODAY Sports