Long

NASHVILLE – When Jayon Brown came back to the Tennessee Titans

as a free agent this year, the speculation was that he would reclaim his role as a starter. That is not exactly how it went.

Now, Brown is working his way back from injury. The veteran inside linebacker was one of three players – guard/center Aaron Brewer and outside linebacker Derick Roberson are the others – the Titans designated for return to practice Wednesday. For now, they remain on injured reserve (that list includes 15 players), but the moves with Brown and the others begin a three-week window during which each can be evaluated during workouts.

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Additionally, veteran running back/returner Dontrell Hillard was signed to the practice squad.

Whenever Brown is cleared to play, which could be as soon as Sunday at Indianapolis, it will be more difficult than ever for coaches to put him on the field him ahead of David Long.

In Brown’s absence, Long has emerged as an essential member of the defense. The 2019 sixth-round pick has led the Titans or tied for the team lead in tackles in four of the last five games, and for the season he has a team-best 51 stops. He also has five quarterback pressures, four tackles for loss and two passes defensed.

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“Confident, comfortable – however you want to look at it,” Long said of his current mindset. “I feel like I’m just seeing it, more comfortable out there in every aspect of the game.”

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Read More

phoenix-picture">>Tennessee Titans cornerback Elijah Molden (24) with other defensive backs in a huddle before the game against the Arizona Cardinals at Nissan Stadium.h2 role="heading" aria-level="2"">

>Molden Proves He is a Quick Study

phoenix-picture">>Tennessee Titans linebacker David Long (51) waits for the snap during the first half against the Indianapolis Colts at Nissan Stadium.h2 role="heading" aria-level="2"">

>Long Gets Comfortable as Starter

phoenix-picture">>Tennessee Titans offensive tackle Taylor Lewan (77) on the sideline during the second half against the Indianapolis Colts at Nissan Stadium.h2 role="heading" aria-level="2"">

>Wednesday Injury Report: Lewan Puts in a Full Work Day

It is similar to what happened late last season

, when Brown spent the final six weeks

on injured reserve. Long started the last five games, was the Titans’ leading tackler in three consecutive weeks (15-17) and made it look as if the defense could go forward without Brown, who was in the final year

of the contract. Dissatisfied with the offers he received in free agency, Brown re-signed with Tennessee

on a one-year contract and said he did so with no assurances

.

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Any decision between the two this year was delayed when Long was injured and unable to play

in Week 1 against Arizona and Brown could not go in Week 2. Both were in uniform in Weeks 3 and 4, but Long started both games and played significantly more snaps.

“(Long) puts a lot into it,” coach Mike Vrabel said.” I think he continues to make big plays, be productive, play hard [with] energy. It would appear that he loves playing football and I know that. That is something that we can view.

“… He is never perfect. He makes mistakes just like everybody else, but he plays fast, he triggers, and he has been doing a nice job in there for us.”

In the first game after Brown went on injured reserve

, at Jacksonville, Long tied his career-high with 12 tackles. A week later against Buffalo, he raised that standard with 14 stops, the most by a Titans player this season.

“I just knew I had to come in here and keep working and whenever the opportunity came to take full advantage of it,” Long said. “That was always the plan.”

In a way, it feels as if he has just started.

Source : https://www.si.com/nfl/titans/news/tennessee-titans-nfl-david-long-jayon-brown-starter

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