The Tennessee Titans are going to field an exciting offense this season. Much of the hoopla surrounds the team’s big four: Ryan Tannehill, Derrick Henry, A.J. Brown and Julio Jones. Adding Jones to what was already one of the most efficient offenses in the league has added to the expectations. The offensive line should be a top 10 unit, and role players such as Anthony Firkser and Josh Reynolds will find ways to make positive contributions as well.
One player that I’m particularly excited to watch this season is Darrynton Evans. We’re not talking about him enough as a fan base. Evans was a third-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. Evans is an easy accelerator and a fluid runner. Evans’ skill-set is different from Henry’s, which is part of the reason why Titans general manager Jon Robinson decided to pair them in his backfield. Evans is a dangerous playmaker with the ball in his hands, both on special teams and as a receiver.
Injuries unfortunately derailed much of Evans’ rookie campaign. Titans fans got a sneak peek of what Evans could add to the offense in Week 12 of last season against the Lions, when Evans turned 10 touches into 57 yards and a touchdown. New offensive coordinator Todd Downing must find a way to make Evans a bigger part of this offense in 2021. He’s healthy and offers a different set of skills at the running back position.
Evans recently spoke with Broadway Sports about his rookie campaign, how he’s looking forward to contributing in 2021, his passion for content creating and lending a helping hand to that community, playing as a kick returner and so much more. Enjoy.
JM: How do you reflect on your rookie season? What was the biggest lesson you learned during it?
DE: I learned how important it is to have a clear mind with everything. you wanna be able to contribute when you come in. That’s all I wanted. You want to get some playing time but you’re always going to have different setbacks and things going on. You have to keep truckin’ through it. That was definitely my main takeaway. I came in with high expectations for myself. I know other people had expectations for me as well. When things aren’t going the way you thought they would, you have to have a clear mind. You have to be able to push through those things. That’s what I tried to do during the second half of the season. I went to work and attacked it every day.
JM: As a rookie, you had to go through a virtual offseason. The pandemic really impacted your initial impression of the league. Things must feel way better in 2021. You’re going through a proper training camp right now and getting that on-field coaching you didn’t really get last July and August. How can that sense of normalcy help you take a step forward this season?
DE: This year is definitely different. I didn’t really know what to expect last year. I feel like it’s my rookie year all over again. We’re starting fresh. We had a proper OTA’s. We actually had a mini-camp as well. That was all new to me. I’m absorbing everything and soaking it in. I’m trying to find the teachable moments in everything we do.
JM: At one point in college, you briefly made the move to receiver before going back to the backfield. Did that experience help your development as a running back? You also worked with the Titans receivers during OTA’s. Did you enjoy that?
DE: In college, I feel like that experience helped me learn the playbook. My knowledge of our offense definitely took a big step forward thanks to that experiment. I basically spent that entire season at receiver. I was happy to go work where the coaches felt they needed me. If they told me to go play tight end, I would have done that (laughs). At the end of the day, I’m just trying to contribute to the team. That’s my main goal. I want to help the team win games and make a big playoff run.
JM: What can you tell me about running backs coach Tony Dews?
DE: He’s a good dude. He’s definitely gonna push you. He knows how to get the most out of you. That’s what he does every day. He’s consistent with it.
JM: You’re going to get a chance to win the kick returner job over these next few weeks. What do you enjoy about playing that role?
DE: I love to contribute. That’s how I approach every aspect of the game, and special teams is a big part of that. Obviously I returned a few kicks for the team last year. I would love to do it again this year. At the end of the day, there’s a battle going on and I have to go out there and earn the right to do that job. It’s not gonna be handed to me. I have to go out there and win the job.
JM: We’re looking forward to watching you do that. What’s your early impression of new offensive coordinator Todd Downing and his offense?
DE: Mike Vrabel and Jon Robinson know how to put the right people in place. We’re all behind coach Downing. I’m definitely behind him. Anything he calls, we’re going to run it to the best of our ability. I have full faith in him.
JM: How would you describe what it’s like to share a running back room with Derrick Henry?
DE: It’s amazing. He’s one of the top backs in the league. He’s won back-to-back rushing titles. It speaks for itself. He’s truly one of a kind. I’m not sure what else I can say about him. He’s a one-of-a-kind player. He’s big, physical and fast. He’s everything you look for in a running back. I’m learning from him. Sharpening iron with him has been so beneficial for me.
JM: We love that. I wanted to discuss your work on Twitch. You obviously have a passion for content creation. You’ve been lending your support to other content creators on social media. You’ve been very active in that community. What do you like about it, and why is it important for you to extend that helping hand?
DE: It’s all about support at the end of the day. Content creators put a lot of time and effort into their work. I’m very appreciative of them and I enjoy showing that. They take time out of their day to do something they enjoy. I admire that. They have a clear passion for it. They love to do it. It’s very similar to my passion for football. I just try to support people whenever I can. I have a lot of content creators in my family. I’ve been around it. I’ve watched it my entire life. I’ve seen what their day-to-day life looks like. They grind. They don’t always get proper notoriety for what they do. They definitely put in a lot of work. I actually want to help a lot of people realize their dreams. They deserve more of a voice for what they do. I understand how much time and effort goes into it.
JM: What was the first game you fell in love with? What’s your go-to game currently?
DE: That first question, that’s hard (laughs). Growing up, my brother and I had all the games. I used to watch him play. I remember falling in love with EA Sports’ NCAA football game. I put in a lot of hours into that game. I’m glad to hear it’s coming back soon. I can’t wait for that. I’m hoping it remains similar to what it was like back then. I hope they don’t change it too much (laughs). I don’t really have a go-to game right now. I cycle through Madden, NBA 2K and Call of Duty. I’m all over the place.
JM: Do you always use the Titans on Madden or do you switch it up?
DE: I rotate through the teams. When I get a chance to stream, I typically let the people in the chat decide what I’m going to play or who I’m gonna use. I like giving the fans what they want. More times than not, they wanna see me use the Titans anyway (laughs). I’m not really playing the game for me. I’m playing for the fans who enjoy watching me stream. If they tell me to pick the Titans. that’s what I do. I even let them pick the playbook I use. It’s more about the interaction for me. I use Twitch and content creation as a way to let fans and players get to know me. It’s a great way to reach the fans. Covid kinda’ took away some of that personal interaction. Everybody was isolated. That’s where streaming came in. It was a unique way for me to reach out and allow people to get to know me on a more personal level beyond the, “Okay, he plays running back for the Titans.”
JM: I love that. It was a great idea. With the supreme court ruling about the NCAA regarding NIL, what would that have changed for you in college? Do you feel like you missed out on any opportunities?
DE: I guess I definitely missed out on some opportunities (laughs). It’s not something I think about. I don’t worry about it or anything like that. I’m just happy that those guys are allowed to earn some money off their name now with their image and likeness.
JM: Is there a veteran on the Titans that you leaned on during your rookie season?
DE: I definitely leaned on Corey Davis a lot last year. We spoke constantly. Khari Blasingame was another guy that was very helpful to me as a rookie. This year, it will probably be Blasingame, Jeremy McNichols and Henry. I obviously spend most of my time in the room with those guys. We share a position room. Those are my guys. I love spending time with them. They’re great guys to be around.
JM: I’ve really appreciated your time today, Darrynton. In closing, what do your goals look like for the 2021 season?
DE: My goals for the 2021 season include me doing as much as I can when I’m on the field. I have to make the most of every opportunity. I don’t want to leave any yards out there. This team is poised to make a deep playoff run, and I want to be a big part of that.