Tennessee Titans fans are witnessing the rise of Jonnu Smith

NASHVILLE, TN - DECEMBER 15: Jonnu Smith #81 of the Tennessee Titans carries the ball for a first down during the fourth quarter against the Houston Texans at Nissan Stadium on December 15, 2019 in Nashville, Tennessee. Houston defeats Tennessee 24-21. (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)
NASHVILLE, TN - DECEMBER 15: Jonnu Smith #81 of the Tennessee Titans carries the ball for a first down during the fourth quarter against the Houston Texans at Nissan Stadium on December 15, 2019 in Nashville, Tennessee. Houston defeats Tennessee 24-21. (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)
(Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images) /

On-field Play

While Jonnu Smith is putting up the stats to prove his improvement, it has manifested itself in some highlight reel plays.

https://twitter.com/Titans/status/1307728068090433536

The first touchdown from the game on Sunday is a full display of Smith’s physicality and presence. Smith runs a “V” route to perfection, fooling Jaguars’ safety Andrew Wingard into believing the route to be a “Shoot” route to the sidelines.

Once Smith has the safety beat, he keeps the play alive by pivoting right in the endzone as Tannehill goes through his progressions.

The high throw is placed perfectly by Tannehill, but requires Smith to make an adjustment to get up high to hold onto the ball despite being hit. It’s a play the Titans fans have looked for from Smith since he was drafted in 2017 in the 3rd round.

This next play really highlights Smith’s special talent. The Titans run a bootleg play-action with Smith acting as a blocker for Derrick Henry. Once the ball is snapped, the Titans offensive line and tight end shift to the right to block for Henry. Smith squashed linebacker Leon Jacobs at the line and subsequently moved his way through the defense to find himself wide open.

It’s most likely a play not designed for Jonnu Smith but his physicality and strength in blocking actually allowed him to be wide open. Tannehill spots his tight end streaking unguarded and throws a dart to him on the way for a 63 yard gain.

Plays like these allow the Titans to open up the playbook and force opposing defenses to not only game plan for Derrick Henry and A.J. Brown, but also Jonnu Smith. Smith is a mismatch against safeties and linebackers that the Titans have been trying to exploit since Arthur Smith has taken over as offensive coordinator for the Titans.