NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee Titans receiver A.J. Brown and defensive lineman Jeffery Simmons are both looking to improve as they enter the second season of their respective NFL careers.
The two players shined as rookies in 2019, and they want to take things to the next level in year two.
“There are a lot of things I could clean up,” Brown said. “In year one, I was just focused on playing fast and not having to think too much. Now, I can really just key in on what I need to really focus on and I can learn a lot more about coverages and everything else.”
A.J. Brown: “The sky’s the limit for me, I’m going to keep working.” pic.twitter.com/fI1HmzqpHi
— Luke Worsham (@luke_worsham) May 20, 2020
Simmons’ approach to improvement centers on identifying his strengths and doing what he can to become even better at those things.
“As a pass rusher, you have to have an identity. I know for sure that I’m not a fancy rusher. I know what I’m good at—just continue to work at what I’m good at. I’m a power guy, so if it’s power, how can I make a better move off my power. It’s all about getting to the quarterback.”
During an offseason that has been completely void of team practices due to the coronavirus, Simmons and Brown are doing what they can to improve.
Simmons has been focused on watching film while also doing as much physical work as he can without having any teammates to help out.
“I don’t think you necessarily have to be going against an offensive lineman,” he said.
“You’ve got an iPad, so you can watch old games, and that’s an advantage right there. But at the same time, I work drills, I work out every day. I work my hands, my pass rush moves, stuff like that.
“I’m still working out and doing the things I need to do to sharpen my game up.
Brown has been meeting up twice per week with Titans QB Logan Woodside for throwing sessions.
Even on the days when Woodside isn’t around, Brown makes sure to get in plenty of practice reps.
“I’m making sure that I’m catching over 1,000 balls per day,” he said.
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Something else that Brown and Simmons are focused on as they enter their sophomore seasons is improving their leadership capacities.
With Pro Bowler and major locker room presence Jurrell Casey no longer on the team, Simmons will, by default, have a louder voice within the Titans’ locker room and within the defensive line group, in particular.
“Coming in as a rookie, Jurell took me under his wing and broke everything down for me,” Simmons said.
“For me, I don’t feel like there’s any pressure. I just need to be myself and continue to do what I can do.”
Now that he’s no longer a rookie, Brown feels that he has more of a license to take advantage of his leadership abilities.
“As a rookie, I didn’t come in and say very much,” Brown said. “I just had to come in and show everyone that I’m a hard worker, myself, and that I hold myself accountable. Now that I have some of my teammates’ respect, I can start holding other people accountable.”
Improvement from Simmons and Brown will be key to deciding the Titans’ fate in 2020. Both figure to play crucial roles for the team.
“I think the sky’s the limit for me, to be honest,” Brown said. “I’m a great learner, and I’m going to continue learning every day.”
Cover image: Mark J. Rebilas & Geoff Burke / USA Today