Why Jayon Brown's versatility makes him a valuable defensive addition

Even in the short time Jayon Brown has been in the Silver and Black, he's making an immediate impact.

The linebacker, now in his sixth NFL season, is playing an integral role in Patrick Graham's defense with the variety of things he can do on the field. As one of the more seasoned players, he's been asked to step into a bigger role for the team, especially with the absence of Pro Bowler Denzel Perryman last week due to injury.

Brown's had a good showing so far through two games, with his 12 solo tackles the third most on the team.

"You got a linebacker who can cover. You got linebacker who could blitz," Graham said of Brown. "You got linebacker who could also serve as a signal caller in terms of the communicator out there on the field. And his veteran leadership, both on the field and off the field, are two things that really stand out right there for me. So, for me, he's done everything we've asked him to do.

"He's been physical in the run game. He's been able to cover guys when we asked him to. A lot of good things from Jayon right now."

Brown's former head coach with the Tennessee Titans, Mike Vrabel, can see why Patrick Graham enjoys coaching the linebacker. Earlier this week, the Titans head coach described Brown as "active, athletic [and can] cover the backs." This game is set up to be a trip down memory lane for Brown, as he travels to face the team that drafted him in 2017. In his five seasons with the Titans, he started 39 games and recorded 385 total tackles, 28 pass deflections and nearly 10 sacks.

The Long Beach, California, native signed with the Raiders to a part of a defense that caters to his skillset, with an added bonus of being closer to his hometown. Nevertheless, he's still fond of his time in the Music City and prepared to play against his former team.

"It's going to be a great opportunity going out there, back to Tennessee," said Brown. "It's an opportunity to get a win. ... Go out there and compete, have fun, party with the boys and get after it."

If anyone has the recipe to stop Titans running back Derrick Henry, it might be Brown. The linebacker was drafted by the Titans out of UCLA the season after they drafted the Heisman-winning running back from Alabama. Henry said Thursday that he's "happy to see Jayon [with the Raiders] playing some ball."

Brown is also excited to see "King Henry" once again, and is quite knowledgeable of the physicality his defense must play with Sunday in efforts of limiting Henry in the run game.

"Derrick is a big guy. Downhill runner, very physical," Brown said, giving an evaluation of his former teammate. "[He's] one of the best backs in the league, if not the best back in the league. We have a lot of respect for him and we have to come downhill and tackle him. That's what it comes down to, doing our job and attacking him."

With the Silver and Black posting a 0-2 record to start the season, Brown is "not satisfied" with how he or the defense has played to this point. As a leader of the defense his ultimate goal is to keep doing whatever is required of him, which he's hopeful will lead to his first victory as a Raider.

"The camaraderie we have in this locker room is really good," he said. "People care about each other and play hard for each other. It's been on display, we just got to get in the 'W' column."

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