Jeffery Simmons gave the Tennessee Titans probably more than they expected from him as a rookie, especially considering his situation.
Simmons tore his ACL while working out for the draft in February 2019, and even when the Titans selected him in the first round, GM Jon Robinson indicated at the time that having Simmons available for sometime in the second half of the season would be a nice plus.
Instead, the defensive lineman made it back to play in nine games last season, and now looks to build on that in year two.
Simmons is continuing to work to make his knee and his body stronger and is working to get his weight down as well.
“Honestly, I’m just continuing to work hard to get my knee in the best possible shape I can for the upcoming season. I’ve been feeling pretty good, my knee has been feeling good,” said Simmons, who indicated that he has not work his brace in off-season workouts. “I’m working out, still on the plan to get my knee better for this upcoming season. I’m feeling great right now, so I pray that everything stays smooth. Every day I’m trying to just get my knee stronger and good for the season.”
As for the weight, the former Mississippi State star has lost 10 pounds from last year and wants to lose 5 to 10 more pounds before the start of the 2020 campaign.
“I played right at 320. Right now my weight is fluctuating so I’m like 309, 310 every now and then,” he said. “My goal is to be under 300 or right at 300, 305. Whenever the time comes, especially for this season I know I’ll be at my goal weight. Whatever is best for the team that’s what I’m doing.”
Of course, the big issue for Simmons and the entire Titans defensive line is to replace perennial Pro Bowl standout Jurrell Casey, who was traded to Denver in the off-season for a seventh-round pick in a salary cap dump by the Titans.
“Jurrell took me under his wing and pretty much just broke everything down for me. That was very helpful coming in as a rookie, especially coming in hurt. As you guys know, Jurrell was rehabbing as well while I was rehabbing,” Simmons said. “Even when we were doing drills, coming back to trying to work to get back on the field, he stepped up and was like, ‘This is how you do this. This is how you do that.’ Like I said, he was very helpful. Coming from Jurrell, I know he wasn’t like, ‘No worries.’ I know that the guys in our room – I don’t feel like it’s going to be a big leap coming from me. I think a lot of guys – especially guys that we’ve got coming in this year, I feel like everyone is going to play a big part of this season here coming up. Me personally, I don’t feel any pressure for me. Just be myself and continue to do what I do, and like I said, this offseason right now I’m just working on how can I physically and mentally be ready for next year.”
Part of that being ready for a bigger role has Simmons evaluating his play from last year as well as his work in strengthening his knee.
“I have high expectations for myself and high standards for myself. I know I could’ve been way better. I’m not even blaming anything on my knee. It’s a lot of things that I could’ve done better is not because of my knee, its small other things.,” Simmons said. “When I was out there playing a game I wasn’t thinking about, ‘OK, I’ve got a hurt knee,’ or I’ve got an injured knee, I should say. I’m not playing this game timid. I could be a lot better just by a lot of technique issues, and I think that’s the main thing that I’m trying to focus on this offseason.”