Titans coach Mike Vrabel watched receiver A.J. Brown dominate as a rookie last year.
Now, Vrabel may be without an effective Brown for a bit. Brown, who partnered with Ryan Tannehill and Derrick Henry to form one of the NFL’s breakout offenses last year, suffered a knee injury that will be evaluated weekly.
If Brown isn’t at 100% — or even misses significant time with the injury — thdn the Tennessee Titans‘ road to the Super Bowl just became much harder.
A.J. Brown is one of Mike Vrabel’s best weapons
Mike Vrabel and the Tennessee Titans were eternally grateful when A.J. Brown, a two-time All-SEC receiver from Ole Miss, fell to them with the 51st overall pick in the 2019 NFL draft.
Brown burst out onto the scene as a rookie, catching 52 passes for 1,051 yards and eight touchdowns. He averaged over 20 yards per catch and even had a 91-yard touchdown against the Raiders in December.
A dynamic player standing 6 feet and weighing 226 pounds, Brown had 60 rushing yards and a touchdown on three carries. Brown also caught five passes for 64 yards and had a 9-yard rush in three postseason games.
There were no early signs of a sophomore slump in Week 1, when Brown caught five passes for 39 yards in a 16-14 victory over the Denver Broncos.
Brown currently has a knee injury
Even after a last-second win, Mike Vrabel couldn’t celebrate for too long.
The Titans learned shortly after the victory that A.J. Brown suffered a bone bruise in his knee.
The injury could keep Brown out for a Week 2 game against the rival Jacksonville Jaguars.
ESPN reported the injury could keep Brown out “possibly beyond” Week 2. Brown will be evaluated “week to week.”
What could Mike Vrabel do without A.J Brown?
It wouldn’t be accurate to say the Titans’ Super Bowl hopes rest solely on A.J. Borwn’s shoulders.
Tennessee still needs three things to happen for them to make the postseason. Ryan Tannehill needs to manage the game and avoid turnovers; Derrick Henry needs to be an elite running back; and Stephen Gostkowski can’t miss easy kicks.
Former first-round pick Corey Davis caught seven passes for 101 yards in the Week 1 victory. Davis is considered questionable for Week 2 with a hamstring injury, however.
Kalif Raymond, who has primarily returned kicks since entering the league in 2016, could be in line for more receiver reps. Reymond played 18 snaps on offense in Week 1.
Tennessee’s schedule doesn’t help things, either. After the matchup with Jacksonville, the Titans have four straight games against teams that went .500 or better last year, including all of their October games.
The Titans were always going to have a target on their back after a surprisingly successful 2019 season. Things just got much harder in Tennessee, but Vrabel has shown he can handle any obstacles that come his way.