Jeffery Simmons, a versatile defensive tackle who is fit for the modern game, will be the anchor of the Titans defensive line. As he boasts quickness and finesse, Simmons can fight off blocks and get to the quarterback, even if doubled. Both Simmons and Titan veteran defensive tackle Jurrell Casey, whose skill sets run parallel with one another, will be a lethal one-two punch along the line.
A perfect compliment to Simmons, Casey posted 62 total tackles, 36 solo, seven sacks and two forced fumbles last season. In his three-year Mississippi State tenure, Simmons recorded 163 total tackles, 58 solo, 33 for loss, seven sacks, five forced fumbles, along with seven passes defensed. Expect a stat line similar to Casey’s once Simmons sees the field.
Though Casey lines up at end and Simmons at tackle, both pride themselves on an all-around game. In addition to Casey, Simmons will be surrounded by a ‘defense first’ coaching staff lead by head coach Mike Vrabel, a former linebacker for the Pittsburgh Steelers, New England Patriots and Kansas City Chiefs. Simmons’ defensive coordinator is Dean Pees and his line coach, Terrell Williams.
As the Titans placed eighth in total defense, 18th against the run, the combination of Casey and Simmons should elevate Tennessee in a top 10 rush defense. However, Simmons is coming off an ACL tear and his start date is up in the air. With that said, when he does see the field, the AFC South should be on full alert.
But there is a silver lining, as while on the sideline, Simmons will be learning from the best in Casey, an experienced veteran and four-time pro bowler. Expect Simmons to not start immediately, but make an impact once healthy.