In a condensed offseason for NFL teams, depth, especially at key positions, is critical for long-term success in 2020. The Tennessee Titans are no different. With A.J. Brown out for Sunday’s contest as the Titans host the Jaguars, the Titans will have their depth at the wide receiver position tested early this year.
Vrabel: AJ Brown OUT for @Titans on Sunday
— Jim Wyatt (@jwyattsports) September 18, 2020
Brown did not look like his usual self in the team’s season opener against the Denver Broncos. The second-year wide receiver reeled in five catches for 39 yards on Monday night. Those numbers are below the standard Brown set for himself after exploding for 1,000 yards in his rookie campaign.
With Brown out due to a bone bruise on his knee, the Titans will be forced turn to their thin rotation at the receiver position ahead of the game Sunday against Jacksonville.
Corey Davis reintroduced himself in front of the football world on Monday night by posting seven receptions totaling 101 yards receiving to open his fourth season with the Titans. This is potentially the final year Titans fans will see the wideout in two-tone blue as Davis’ contract is up at the season’s end. While there is no question that Titans’ quarterback Ryan Tannehill will miss having Brown on the outside, Davis proved in Week One that he is also a force to be reckoned with in the team’s aerial attack.
This Corey Davis stiff arm 😤
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) September 15, 2020
Behind Davis is Adam Humphries. Humphries works predominantly out of the slot position developing short to intermediate routes and threatening opposing defenses as a chain mover. Humphries does not have the big play ability that Brown possesses, but the quick twitch pass catcher is certainly capable of handling an increase in volume on Sunday.
Kalif Raymond is the Titans’ No. 4 receiver. Raymond has drawn the attention of nearly every single Titans fan with a Twitter account this offseason. After his 49-yard touchdown catch in Baltimore during the AFC Divisional round, fans were left expecting Raymond to take the next step. Whether that is fair or not is a completely different debate, but after only catching nine passes during the 2019 season, fans should temper expectations.
Behind Raymond is Nick Westbrook-Ikhine, an undrafted free agent out of Indiana. Standing at 6-foot-2 and checking in at 211 pounds, the rookie wideout certainly has the mold of an NFL wide receiver.
While Vrabel and the Titans might have preferred to have added a veteran in the offseason, the team will most likely roll Westbrook-Ikhine out against the Jaguars with Brown out of the lineup.
#Titans' Humphries: RE Nick Westbrook, as soon as he walked in building, looked like an NFL receiver. Size was there. Didn't flinch through adversities of camp either.
— John Glennon (@glennonsports) September 17, 2020
The Titans are already in a tricky spot in just Week Two of the NFL season. After stealing a road win in Denver, the Titans square off against the Jags who boast a 1-0 record, tied with Tennessee for the AFC South lead. While nobody wants to drop games in the division early in the season, the Titans have fared well against the Jags, especially at home. The Jaguars haven’t beaten the Titans in Nashville since 2013.
Brown didn’t look himself on Monday night and if I was the #Titans I’d be very conservative with him. This game Sunday with the Jags is big — all division games are big — but the most important thing is to have Brown healthy and effective for the long haul.
— Mike Herndon (@MikeMiracles) September 17, 2020
With Brown sidelined, it is not unconceivable that the Titans are still able to roll on without him considering the recent success the team has had when Jacksonville comes to town.