Titans second year linebacker Jayon Brown continues to make strides in DC Dean Pees defense.
In four games, Brown is on pace to shatter his rookie season marks in all statistical categories. His current averages suggest he could accumulate 92 combined tackles, with potentially 64 solo tackles and 28 assists.
Brown already has one sack to his credit - which is half a sack away from what he was able to do in 16 games last season. With his snap count slated to increase, so should his production.
The Titans gave Brown his first career start at inside linebacker against the Philadelphia Eagles. He did not disappoint. When watching the game, it was hard not to notice 55.
If he wasn’t making the tackle, he was near the ball and added a celebratory dance following momentum defining moments.
Pees will continue to take advantage of Brown’s unique skill-set. Drafted under the guise of an undersized linebacker, Brown has proven he can excel in both passing and running downs. He possesses the quickness that enables him to stick to tight ends or receivers/running backs coming across the middle or in the flats, has tremendous closing speed and is a reliable tackler.
The term “hybrid-linebacker” has increased in popularity. In the simplest terms, it’s a smaller linebacker that looks more suited to play a safety role.
Brown will continue to evolve into a solid piece of Pees’s defense. He has shown the instincts and ability to adapt and react with precision. It doesn’t hurt to see the charismatic energy he brings into the linebacker group, also.
Variations at ILB
The Titans have a formidable group of ILB’s that each possess different unique traits. Will Compton possesses the veteran savvy and smarts to ensure guys are in the right place before the ball is snapped. Same with Wesley Woodyard - who brings an electricity and swag to the group that is important.
Darren Bates offers familiarity with the team, but he makes his money bringing the boom on special teams. He can fill in when needed, but his main role with the team is clear.
Then, you have rookie ILB Rashaan Evans who is essential still in the “preseason phase”. Evans possess the physical talents and a violent nature that will be a great boost to the defensive thump once he establishes a more defined role.
For Brown, he offers both coverage ability and can avoid be a liability when making tackles in the open field. He can be an effective blitzer and his ball-awareness can contribute to him acquiring sneaky interceptions due to having very active hands.
It will be intriguing to watch the ILB group continue to grow and evolve with the defense. If the defensive front continues to collapse the pocket while the OLBs do damage from the outside, the well-rounded linebacker group will continue to produce.
When Pees sends one of his ILBs up the A-Gap, quarterbacks beware.