Ed Thompson: How has this year been substantially different for you personally versus your rookie year?
Brandon Jones: It was tough coming back. I had to deal with the ACL, and I've never dealt with a serious injury like that. But I felt like I had to come prove to myself that I could work hard enough to come back and be ready to play again. It was really important to me to just get back with the guys another year. Last year I got my foot in the door in the NFL and I got to be more of a student of the game and I'm starting to have a lot more fun. So I was really motivated to get back with the team.
ET: You'll be heading into your third year, and obviously you've got guys like quarterback Vince Young and running back LenDale White who will be heading into their second year. Have the three of you talked about how you could mature and advance in this league as a trio that could become a real offensive force?
BJ: Yes, we've talked about that. We all came from different colleges that had winning seasons. And LenDale's always talking about how he beat us in the national championship and I'm always telling Vince of how we beat them and then Vince is always coming back with how he beat us. If you put us all together I think it's starting to be a great trio, because if you put players together that are used to winning that carry a winning attitude, that can't hurt your ball team.
ET: With all these young guys including yourself out there, are there any veterans on that offensive unit that every now and then just sort of looked at you guys as kids and said "all right guys, come on..."
BJ: (laughs) Yeah, (center) Kevin Mawae is one of those guys. There's been plenty of games where we've been behind and he'll make a comment in the huddle and he'll be like "alright one of you all, come on and make a play, its time for one of you all to make a play." And its like by his will, we'll do it. It's like "alright Granddaddy is talking, it's time to do something, time to get the game turned around." So yeah, I think Kevin Mawae is one of those guys.
ET: Now do you call him Granddaddy right in front of him?
BJ: (laughs) No, I don't call him Granddaddy, I just call him Kev. I don't want to get under a veteran's skin. I respect those guys.
|Titans WR Brandon Jones takes on Colts CB Jason David (Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)|
BJ: I think we're two different options. Drew is a lot taller and he's more of a possession guy; he'll tell you himself he's not a speedy type of guy. And I think I'm more of a possession guy myself, but I think I catch it short and then take it long or I can go long to catch the ball. But there's a lot of qualities that Drew has that I don't have that's why he's the main receiver I look up to. And I watch him and he teaches me a lot of things and I go over a lot of things with him that really help me.
ET: For quite some time until Travis Henry really stepped up, you guys were rotating running backs week to week. How hard is that on an offense to develop a rhythm?
BJ: I think it's really hard because that's something I haven't gone through. I've been at school and you have that one running back and he's the guy. As the running back, individually they've got to get into a rhythm themselves, they've got to get comfortable within the game. It's kind of like baseball you can't go out on the baseball field and then take a couple days off after you've been hitting good and come back and expect to be hitting the same way. You have to keep working on hitting the baseball and that's the same way with football; you've got to work on hitting the holes, you've got to work on getting those carries and it was hard to get a rhythm in the beginning. But we finally got one when Travis had a breakout game and we stuck with him.
ET: When Vince took over at quarterback while the team was in its early slump, did you and others on the team figure this was strictly going to be a rebuilding year?
BJ: No, you don't think that and coach Fisher wouldn't let us think that. He just knew that it was time for a turnaround to happen and he knew that Vince had the capabilities and we had the capabilities as a team to do it. So we didn't look at it like that. We looked at it like here comes a competitor, someone who wants to compete; someone that we can count on that's going to go out there and help us win games, and we're going to help him. We knew he was a young quarterback and we knew we had to help him in anyway we could to make that turnaround.
ET: Is it fair to say his attitude and outlook mean as much to the team as his athleticism?
BJ: Yeah, I think that's fair. I remember he had just started and he played his first Indianapolis game and he slammed his shoe into the wall after we had just lost 14-13. And he was really upset about it; you could tell it hurt him. And he stays in the locker room after the long games. After we got beat by the Cowboys he was in the locker room for 8-9 hours with his head down and you just look at him and you think that's a competitor, that's somebody that wants to win. So I got to get an extra foot up and get my mind together because I want to win just as bad as he wants to win -- and I'm going to help him.
ET: Bottom line, this is a Tennessee team that is back on the rise in the AFC South, isn't it?
BJ: Yes sir, it is.
ET: What do you think is going to fuel you guys during this offseason? Are you going to be chomping at the bit to get back out there?
BJ: Yeah, that's one thing we touched base on. Last year winning four
games and five games the year before, you go into offseason and you don't really
have a lot to feed on or a lot to be hungry about for the next season. But now
we're on the rise and we're 8-8 and we're up and coming. So now we're like,
"man, I can't even wait for the next season to start," so everybody
has that attitude and everybody says the season starts now for us. We're going
to stick together and we're ready for this upcoming season.
ET: Anything you'd like to say specifically to the Titans fans who read this article?
BJ: Just tell them I appreciate them and we all appreciate the noise that they make for us. I want them to know we appreciate them for standing behind us through all those tough and hard games. And be sure to tell them that the Titans are going to be coming out and ready this year.