Julio Jones Starts His Titans Career on Mike Vrabel’s S*** List

Julio Jones

Silas Walker/Getty Images Julio Jones of the Tennessee Titans drops a pass against the Arizona Cardinals at Nissan Stadium on September 12, 2021.

The Tennessee Titans endured a horror show of a home opener on Sunday, getting thoroughly manhandled by the Arizona Cardinals en route to a 38-13 defeat, one headlined by left tackle Taylor Lewan getting his ass kicked and giving up five sacks. While former Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones didn’t have as bad a day as Lewan, he was part of the problem, at least in the eyes of Titans head coach Mike Vrabel.

Julio Jones’ Titans Career Begins with a ‘Critical Mistake’

During Tennessee’s third possession of the game, All-Pro running back Derrick Henry carried the ball for 7 yards on a second-and-8 to set up a third-and-1. The Titans would have been in good position to record their first first-down of the game, except officials flagged Jones for an unnecessary roughness penalty, which resulted in a third-and-16 that led to a punt.

At his press conference on Monday, Vrabel was asked about the play—a “critical mistake,” he called it.

“That’s absolutely nothing we coach or teach,” he added, per Turron Davenport of ESPN.com. “So that would fall under the category of doing dumb s*** that hurts the team. Right there in bold letters,” he added, for emphasis.

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Also, a Julio Jones Drop Led to an Interception

Julio Jones was traded from Atlanta to Tennessee in the offseason and he arrived in Nashville with great fanfare, but the rest of his Titans debut was subpar as well. Not only did he commit the aforementioned personal foul before he recorded his first reception, he also had a pair of drops, one of which resulted in a third-quarter interception by Arizona’s Isaiah Simmons after the ball hit off his hands and floated high in the air.

Needless to say, his otherwise pedestrian numbers (three catches for 29 yards) did nothing to make up for the negatives.

“Julio has got to take advantage of his opportunities,” said Vrabel in his post-game press conference on Sunday. “We had some drops, he dropped some passes…. Those are ones we have to come up with,” he concluded.

Certainly, things won’t be any easier for Julio Jones & Co. next weekend as the Titans (0-1) travel to Seattle (1-0) to face yet another tough NFC West foe. Seattle beat the Colts in Indianapolis on Sunday by a score of 28-16.

Meanwhile, Atlanta experienced plenty of challenges of its own this past weekend, losing at home to the Philadelphia Eagles, 32-6, with Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan averaging a mere 4.68 yards per attempt while passing for 164 yards. Ryan’s leading receivers were: Calvin Ridley, who caught five passes for 51 yards on eight targets; and rookie tight end Kyle Pitts, who was responsible for four receptions for 31 yards, also on eight targets.

Like the Titans, Atlanta (0-1) has a monumental challenge of its own on Sunday, traveling to Tampa Bay to take on Tom Brady and the reigning Super Bowl champion Buccaneers (1-0) at Raymond James Stadium at 4:05 p.m. ET.

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