Monday night marks the fifth straight year the Buffalo Bills will have played the Tennessee Titans. This matchup is always one of the tougher games on the schedule and two Bills players who have connections to Tennessee feel that will be the case again on Monday night.
Jones' reunion with the Titans
When the Bills suited up against the Titans in recent seasons, defensive tackle DaQuan Jones was on the sideline opposite the one he's on now. Jones spent six seasons in Tennessee and now, he's preparing to go up against his former team for the first time as a member of the Bills.
"We know this heated rivalry is getting more attention and getting more head of steam," Jones said. "To be on this side it feels kind of funny. At the same time, I'm excited to go out there and see it from this point of view."
Jones has seen firsthand the challenge running back Derrick Henry forces onto teams every time he steps on the field. From teammate to now opponent, Jones will be responsible for stopping the RB, which he knows isn't an easy task.
"The challenge for us is going to be the mindset," Jones said. "We're going to have to go in there and dominate our opponent in one-on-one matchups. And if we do that, we're going to be alright."
Bills head coach Sean McDermott and Titans head coach Mike Vrabel praised the great teammate and person Jones is on and off the field. McDermott went on to share that his lead-by-example approach has fit right into the Bills defense.
"He's been very solid, very steady in his approach day to day, and he's a pro," McDermott said. "He's strong fundamentally and he comes to work every day, and there's a lot to be said for that."
"I think DaQuan has improved since the day he got into the NFL," Vrabel said. "I got a lot of respect for him as a person and as a player, and it looks like he's continuing to do that and help in Buffalo."
The DE is closer to his hometown of Johnson City, NY now that he's in Buffalo and about 25 members of his family will be in town for Monday night's game, which rarely happened when he was playing in Tennessee and Carolina.
"It's going to be exciting to have everybody out here and to be able to see everybody," Jones said. "To have all my family come up here is going to be pretty fun."
Knox knows the challenge of facing his hometown team
Tight end Dawson Knox, a Brentwood, TN native, naturally grew up a Titans fan. Before he became a Buffalo Bill, Knox would tune into Titans games to watch Eddie George, Steve McNair, Blaine Bishop, and Frank Wycheck.
Now, Knox is ready to go up against his hometown team in a primetime matchup on Monday in search of the Bills' first win against the Titans in two seasons.
"It's always going to be in the back of your mind how the last year or two have gone with that opponent," Knox said." There's a little extra chip on our shoulder."
The Bills fell just short to the Titans last season 34-31. As a team that always presents a challenge to the Bills, Knox knows his team will face yet another one when they go up against his hometown team on Monday.
"We're looking forward to kind of getting some of that bad taste out of our mouths from last year, and especially me personally as the hometown team," Knox said. "I didn't even get to finish last year's game because of the broken hand, so definitely itching to get back out for this one."
A fond memory from Knox's rookie year was when the Bills went into Nashville and defeated the Titans 14-7 in 2019. Knox described this moment as an incredible feeling and one that he looks to repeat in Week 2.
"The last two years they've had our number, so we have all the respect for them," Knox said. "But we're really looking forward to the challenge this year."
Scroll to see photos as the Buffalo Bills prepare for the Monday Night Football matchup against the Tennessee Titans.