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This Is A Funny Way Of Saying That A.J. Brown Got His Old GM Fired

Tennessee Titans general manager Jon Robinson answers questions from the media during the NFL Scouting Combine on March 2, 2022, at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis.
Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire/Getty Images

The Tennessee Titans announced the firing of GM Jon Robinson on Tuesday, a surprise given that the team is comfortably first in the AFC South and, barring a devastating collapse, should make the playoffs. Vice president of player personnel Ryan Cowden will serve in the interim. The decision to get rid of Robinson wasn't only because A.J. Brown embarrassed the Titans on Sunday, but that probably had something to do with it.

The statement from team owner Amy Adams Strunk was vague, but the mention of roster construction hinted that the organization had grown unhappy with Robinson's decisions:

Since becoming controlling owner in 2015, my goal has been to raise the standard for what is expected in all facets of our organization. I believe we have made significant progress both on and off the field through investments in leadership, personnel and new ideas. This progress includes the core of our business, the football team itself, which is regularly evaluated both by results (wins and losses) and team construction/roster building. I am proud of what we have accomplished in my eight seasons of ownership, but I believe there is more to be done and higher aspirations to be met.

I want to thank Jon for his dedicated work to set this organization on an upward trajectory and I wish him and his family the best.

That was regurgitated by NFL Network's Tom Pelissero in slightly clearer words:

The Titans traded Brown to the Eagles during April's draft for two picks, because they didn't want to sign him to a long-term extension. Head coach Mike Vrabel wasn't pleased with the move at the time, and surely he was less pleased after Philly stomped his team, 35-10, as Brown caught eight passes for 119 yards and two demoralizing touchdowns. That might have been the last straw for Vrabel or the ownership, or both, because although Robinson had some hits in his tenure, he lately had a lot of misses.

Robinson gets credit for picks like Derrick Henry, Jeffery Simmons, and Brown, even if he didn't want to give more money to that last guy. But his recent drafts haven't borne any standouts. The era of 2020 first-round pick Isaiah Wilson was short-lived and disastrous: He appeared in one game before he became unhappy with the team, leading the Titans to trade him for effectively nothing. Robinson also swapped a second-round pick for one unremarkable season of Julio Jones. In his article on the firing, Titans beat reporter Paul Kuharsky included a damning fact: "Of 29 players drafted by Robinson eligible for a second contract, only five have gotten one: Kevin Byard, Derrick Henry, Jayon Brown, Harold Landry and Amani Hooker."

It's too early to make a conclusion on the 2021 and 2022 draft classes, although Treylon Burks, the rookie receiver who was supposed to make Brown expendable, hasn't done much with lots of opportunity. He has one game of over 100 receiving yards this season; on Sunday he scored his first career touchdown while he was also concussed by a defender's illegal hit. Behind him in the depth chart are Robert Woods and Nick Westbrook-Ikhine. The Titans have always been a run-heavy team, but it helps to have some kind of threat to catch the ball. The quarterbacking duo of Ryan Tannehill and Malik Willis hasn't helped there, either. If I wanted to speculate, Vrabel might have pointed out to his bosses that he was right to be irritated on draft day, or maybe ownership noticed that glaring regret all by itself.

So this NFL week starts with the Titans unsatisfied and Robinson unemployed. However, A.J. Brown must be feeling fantastic right now. You have a great game, get the win, and on top of that, make your boss look so stupid that he loses his job? That has to feel at least half as satisfying as winning a Super Bowl.

Correction (11:18 p.m. ET): The original version of this post cited a fact from Paul Kuharsky's article that stated only three draft picks selected by Jon Robinson had been signed to a second contract. The actual number is five draft picks. The post has been corrected.

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