Julio Jones’ Titans debut was frustrating, especially for head coach Mike Vrabel.
He came down hard on the longtime Falcons receiver — acquired by Tennessee in a June blockbuster — while reacting to his personal foul penalty in Sunday’s 38-13 loss to the Cardinals.
“That’s absolutely nothing that we coach or teach,” Vrabel said Monday. “That would fall into the category of doing dumb s–t that hurts the team, right there, in bold letters.”
Jones’ costly penalty — which Vrabel described as a “critical mistake” — turned a third-and-1 into a third-and-16.
Jones was flagged 15 yards for unnecessary roughness in the first quarter after a Derrick Henry 7-yard run when he shoved Cardinals defensive back Byron Murphy as the Titans trailed 10-0. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill threw an incomplete pass and was nearly intercepted, which led to the Titans punting.
The 32-year-old wideout had three catches for 29 yards after being targeted six times, starting in the second quarter.
The Titans picked up the final three years of Jones’ Falcons contract in June, including his $15.3 million salary this season, after he pushed for a trade. Atlanta also traded a sixth-round draft pick in 2023 to Tennessee for a second-rounder in 2022 and a fourth-rounder in 2023.
Jones, a seven-time Pro Bowler, had 771 yards and three touchdowns over nine games last season, and was dealing with nagging hamstring issues. He looked healthy in his Titans debut.
Tennessee visits Seattle next Sunday.
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