In another world, Jayon Brown might not be a Long Beach Poly alum.
Brown exhibited something often lacking in high school athletes: patience. The second-year Titans linebacker didn’t start as a Jackrabbit until his senior year of high school, and ended up signing with UCLA after being lightly recruited. He didn’t start for the Bruins until his senior year there, either.
He didn’t transfer out of either school seeking more playing time, either, just worked hard and made an impact every time he was on the field. It’s an approach that worked well for his family, as all three of his brothers also got their educations paid for after graduating from Poly and going on to play in college (his younger brother Josh is now at Arizona).
“It just seemed like my whole career I was always slept on, always needing to prove myself,” said Brown.
It gave him a chip on his shoulder, one that didn’t come off when the Titans traded up to draft him in the fifth round last year. He made the roster and was a solid rookie, playing in all 16 games and racking up 52 tackles.
This year he’s taking the jump and looking like a legit starting linebacker that could play on any number of teams. Brown was second on the team this week with 10 tackles and a sack in a surprise overtime win over the Eagles, which improved the Titans to 3-1. On the season he already has 23 tackles, tied for third-most on the team. If he keeps it up, it’ll be harder and harder to keep that chip on his shoulder.
Long Beach Poly
Jurrell Casey, Brown’s teammate on the Titans, is sixth on the team in tackles and leads the team with three sacks. He had a critical tackle for a loss in the Titans’ win over the Eagles.
JuJu Smith-Schuster and DeSean Jackson continued their nice starts to the season as they’re still both in the top eight in receiving yards, although both of them saw their teams pick up losses. Smith-Schuster had four catches for 60 yards in a loss to the Ravens (416 yards on the year) while Jackson had 112 yards in a blowout loss to the Bears (424 on the season).
Receiver Kaelin Clay missed the last game with the Giants with an injury, and New York waived him earlier this week; after clearing waivers he was added to the Giants’ injured reserve.
Marcedes Lewis continues to be little-utilized as a blocking tight end for the Packers, who are 2-1-1 with a win over the Bills. Jamize Olawale got in as a blocking fullback for the Cowboys in their win over the Lions.
It was a better week for John Ross after some early-season frustrations. The Panthers speedster had a 39 yard touchdown catch in a thrilling 38-37 Bengals win over the Falcons, and finished with 52 receiving yards in the game, more than doubling his career total prior to Sunday.
The Browns fell to 1-2-1 with an overtime loss to the Raiders on Sunday, preventing Joel Bitonio (starting guard for Cleveland) from getting to experience an NFL win streak.
Lancers alum Matt Pryor is still with the Eagles, but still hasn’t gotten in after being listed as inactive again this week.
Datone Jones’ season is over after it was discovered that his nagging hamstring injury will likely require surgery; he was placed on the Cowboys’ injured reserve list this week.