The past decade of Tennessee Titans football was mostly filled with misery and mediocrity, sprinkled with dashes of hope and occasional flashes of brilliance. Although the team found success towards the end of the decade, there is no question that the Titans, along with their fans, endured many trials and tribulations along the way back to relevancy.
Football is a team game and there were many pieces in the organization that could be credited for not only a change in culture, but a complete change in the team’s identity. Recently traded defensive lineman Jurrell Casey had as meaningful of an impact as anybody in the Titans’ facility in the nine years he was with the team.
After being selected in the third round of the 2011 NFL Draft, Casey was the anchor of the Titans’ defense over the last decade. He was a mainstay on the defensive side of the ball, even through the dark years in 2014 and 2015 when the team combined for an abysmal 5-27 record. Casey weathered the Ken Whisenhunt storm, an era when the team mustered an embarrassing 3-20 record during his time as offensive coordinator. However, Casey came out on the other side with five straight trips in the Pro Bowl and, most recently, as a team leader who helped guide the Titans to an AFC Championship appearance.
It came as a great surprise to Titans fans that Casey was traded to the Denver Broncos for a seventh-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. After all of the work Casey put in, he felt as if he was done wrong by Jon Robinson and the Titans organization.
“The part that is so crazy is that you give so much to them. Especially when you come up on free agency and have opportunities to go somewhere else. Especially the way it was going when we were there, 2-14, 3-13,” Casey said to Jason McCourty on the Double Coverage podcast.
#Broncos DL Jurrell Casey, who spent nine seasons in Tennessee and was named to the Pro Bowl five times, says the #Titans threw him away "like a piece of trash."#Broncos are scheduled to play the #Titans in Week 1 on MNF. pic.twitter.com/iLknQXV0tU
— NFL Update (@MySportsUpdate) June 8, 2020
Nobody disagrees that Casey was right to feel this way and Robinson caught a sizeable amount of flak from the Titans’ fanbase for the move, but as the old saying goes, business is business – especially in the NFL.
“He’s a very standup guy. He felt really betrayed in a sense by Tennessee for trading him,” said Broncos Insider and NFL analyst Cody Roark on A to Z Sports Nashville’s Titan Up Podcast.
Broncos cornerback A.J. Bouye on defensive lineman Jurrell Casey facing the Titans, his former team: "I know he’s going to take this personal."
— Jon Heath (@ByJonHeath) September 10, 2020
As fate would have it, Casey’s new team, the Denver Broncos, are set to square off against the Titans on Monday Night Football in Week One of the season. After the Broncos’ defense lost Von Miller to a season-ending ankle injury, Casey’s importance on the Denver defense is critical for success in head coach Vic Fangio’s scheme.
The Tatted Monster has been doing everything under the sun to get his new team ready for the challenges the Titans present. “Jurrell Casey has been huge for the Broncos so far,” Roark said. “This week he’s been giving some inside intel about the Titans’ offense and defense.”
Jurrell Casey says he’ll “definitely” talk to the Broncos offensive and defensive coaches extra next week to tell them all about the Titans.
— Zac Stevens (@ZacStevensDNVR) September 3, 2020
Sharing information about a former team is a common practice from recently departed players in the NFL. The Titans faced a similar situation in Week One of the 2019 season when the team opened up against the Cleveland Browns, who had acquired Taywan Taylor in a deal in exchange for a seventh-round pick.
As one can imagine, this did not go as planned for Taylor and the Browns as they fell to the Titans 43-13 in utter disgrace. The Browns had nobody to blame but themselves, realizing that their defeat is the price you pay when you go to Taywan Taylor for advice on the game plan.
There will be many feelings of nostalgia when the Titans’ offense rolls out in Mile High Stadium for the first time with Casey lined up on the other side. After all, Casey meant a lot, not only to the franchise, but the community and fanbase as a whole. Nonetheless, the team is on to bigger and hopefully better things. The Titans have a brand new No. 99 on the defensive line this season. He goes by the name of Jadeveon Clowney.