Young Linebackers Make Key Plays In Win

The Tennessee Titans got big contributions from two young linebackers in Saturday’s 34-27 in over the Carolina Panthers at Nissan Stadium.

Rookie Jayon Brown provided an early spark when he deflected a Derek Anderson pass into the air that fellow linebacker Justin Staples intercepted and returned to the Panthers 17 yard line.

“We were just doing out jobs. Give a shout out to Coach (Dick) LeBeau for calling a great defense right there and I tried to catch it but I just got enough to tip it up,” said Brown.

For Brown it is the second  consecutive strong showing in this preseason.

“It was because of great work during the week and the coaches, coach (linebackers coach Lou) Spanos and coach LeBeau helped me be more detailed and I’m a fast learner so along with the older guys helping me out I’m more confident,” said Brown. “I’m just trying to learn and improve every week.”

Aaron Wallace, entering his second season with the Titans had the play of the game when he stripped Panthers quarterback Garrett Gilbert of the football at the Carolina one with just 2:07 left to play and the score tied at 27.

The Titans recovered the football and were able to score the winning touchdown and avoid overtime in a preseason game.

It was a two-minute situation, so I knew I was going to get some opportunities (to rush the passer). I felt like I had a pretty good pass key. I ended up winning and getting the ball out,” Wallace said. “That’s a huge part of the game, getting the ball back for your offense. We were able to give them some opportunities, and it was a key one the end.”

Familiarity Helping Young Linebackers

Both Brown and Wallace are products of UCLA where both played under Spanos. That familiarity has helped both players.

“Being with coach (Spanos) in college has made the transition really easy for me and A-Wall (Wallace) and we are playing faster and not having to think as much because we know what he wants from us.”

Veterans Taking Notice

Brian Orakpo has noticed the improvement in his young position mates.

“They made some huge plays today that actually won the game for us,” said Orakpo. “It was a tremendous interception started by Jayon and Staples and A-Wall just to close the game out.”

“The sack and forced fumble, that’s exactly what we’ve been needing, ” Orakpo said.

David Fluellen was able to score on the first play following the fumble, going in from the three-yard line for the game winner.