NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Well, it’s Saturday, which means it’s time for another Titans mailbag.
On this Saturday, it also means it’s time for another football game – the Titans face the Redskins today at Nissan Stadium.
First, the mailbag. Let’s go…
Rachel Callura from Greenwood, South Carolina
Question: Do you think the Titans will make the playoffs this year? And do you think the Titans will clinch the AFC South if the Titans beat the Colts in the week 17 showdown? Do you think that will happen? I've been a Titans fan for a long time and I've got family from my grandmother's side of the family that are titans fans and I've always been a Titans fan I've watched them on t.v every time they play every Sunday and I believe the Titans will make the playoffs. The #1 Titans fan in the world.
Jim: Hey Rachel. Thanks for the question. I’ll answer it like this: The Titans have to take care of business to give themselves a chance. The Titans have to beat the Redskins today, and the Colts next week. I think there’s a good chance they get help (either the Ravens or Steelers have to lose a game, and the Ravens play at the Chargers on Saturday night, and the Steelers play at the Saints on Sunday). I don’t think the chances of winning the AFC South are great, because the Texans are a win away from clinching (at Philly this weekend, and vs. the Jaguars in Week 17). We’ll know a lot more about where things stand by possibly tonight.
Brandon Greene from Galva, Illinois
Question: Hey Jim. I'm going to the game this Saturday I've been down there before for a Sunday noon game and have shown up early enough to get autographs by the players parking lot. Wondering what time would be a good time to show up for a 3:30 game?
Jim: Hey Brandon. Players will probably start showing up around noon, but the gates won’t open until two hours before the game. Game days are tough for autographs, but not impossible. And it sounds like you've done some good scouting if you've been to the players lot. Inside the stadium I’ve seen a lot of fans who position themselves low in pregame, by the tunnel where the team comes in and out for warmups, and they sometimes have success. But it’s hit or miss. Good luck, and have fun.
Leighton Siu from Kapolei, Hawaii
Question: Aloha Jim. It seems that #22 has found his groove and the O-line is doing a better job, now if only the receivers can catch the easy ones. The defense is looking a lot stronger and quicker. It looks like the Titans are starting to peak at the right time and with a little luck Marcus can take them through the playoffs. What's your take on this? Mele Kalikimaka (Merry Christmas). Uncle Leighton.
Jim: Aloha Leighton. Hard to disagree with any of this. But the Titans have to keep winning before we can talk playoffs. Mele Kalikimaka!
Matthias Schuster from Scottsville, New York
Question: Hey Jim! Happy holidays to you and the family! I don’t have Twitter so figured d I'd ask you here: What uniforms are we rocking tomorrow? Throwbacks? All my best.
Jim: Hey Matthias. White jerseys, light blue britches -- just like the huddle shot above. And you need to get on Twitter! Lots of info there. You’ll find me @jwyattsports.
Michael Spivey from Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Question: Hi Jim, do you think Delanie Walker will be ready to play if the Titan's make the playoffs?
Jim: Hey Michael. I doubt it. I talked to Delanie this week and he said he just got cleared to walk roughly two weeks ago. He’s been working in the pool, and on the treadmill mostly. He’s still a ways to go from running. As much as he’d love to play, I don’t think you’ll see him on the field until the 2019 season.
Anita Almich from Bandon, Oregon
Question: Hi Jim, So excited for the next 2 games and hoping that the team focuses and is successful in their pursuit of a playoff slot. Thank you so much for keeping us informed and in answering so many questions from fans. My question is about Marcus and his foot injury, but also other foot injuries suffered by other players on the team. Usually when I get a new pair of shoes, it takes a few days to break them in. With the latest 'My Cause My Cleats' program, Marcus had 5 pairs of cleats that he wore in the one game. Are those cleats broken in during the weeks prior to the game where they are comfortable while he is playing? That with the condition of the playing field can really cause havoc with firm footing while throwing and running. Foot and leg injuries can easily occur. I noted that other Titan players changed their cleats for the cause and some of them had foot injuries too. Has there been any thought given to how the injuries occur and what equipment changes have been made? Thank you again. Go Titans!!
Jim: Hi Anita. Well, you’re right about the “My Cause My Cleats” – he did wear five shoes that night. It’s funny, I was actually in a conversation with someone about breaking in shoes last week while watching practice. A lot of guys will wear them after just taking them out of the box. As for injuries that come from it, I’m not sure I can address that part. But Mariota showed up on the injury report with a foot this week as a result of an injury in the Giants game. He was limited on Tuesday, but he’s good now – he was a full participant in practices the rest of the week and is a go for today.
Bobby Jones from Statesboro, North Carolina
Question: Much props to the o-line. Never really lost faith just wondered why the run game wasn't as effective early in the season. Condolences to Dennis Kelly and his father. Congrats to Taylor Lewan and company on making the Pro Bowl. Love the Titans always. Thanks Jim for your coverage. Makes us as fans feel a part of the team. Time is our friend. I can see that bright light ahead. Our front office is the best in the league.
Jim: Hey Bobby. Appreciate you taking the time, and the kind words. Kelly is a great guy, and a team guy. What he went through last week, to be able to come back and play at such a high level is remarkable. And Lewan has now done something no Titans tackle has ever done – make it to three Pro Bowls. Now the Titans have to keep it going on the field.
Damon Webb Sr from Detroit, Michigan
Question: In your experience having observed the inner workings of the Titans for several years is it a good sign that a player stays on the Practice Squad the entire year? And if so what does that tell you in your personal experience?
Jim: Hi Mr. Webb. Well, the experience is invaluable. Sometimes guys get called up from the practice squad because of injuries at the position. But there have been a lot of guys who spend the whole year on the practice squad, and don’t get promoted. But the experience puts them ahead of some of the new competition heading into the next season, because a lot of them get signed to futures contracts the day the season ends. And I can promise you coaches and the front office decision makers wouldn’t hesitate to swap out the practice squad guys if they didn’t like them. I’ve seen it happen a ton. Damon just needs to keep plugging. And he’s helping the team on Sundays (and Saturdays and Mondays and Thursdays) with his work.
Chris Chapman from Hermitage, Tennessee
Question: Hey Jim! I wanna start off by saying a very big "Thank You" to you, Mike Keith, Ami Wells and every other journalist and analyst for keeping all of us up to date on our favorite teams. I think as fans we forget that you guys have to spend a lot of time away your families this time of year in order to keep all of us in the loop, thank you especially for that.
I so hated to see Logan Ryan and Jack Conklin go down for the remaining 2 games. My 1st question is why do you think Logan Ryan jumped out there on social media so quickly concerning his injury? I got the impression based on Coach Vrabel not wanting to answer questions about it as though the team kinda backed away from it.
My 2nd question has to with our RT Jack Conklin; he seemed really off since the 1st game he came back into the starting lineup. Do you think Conklin maybe just needs an off-season of working on his technique instead of rehabbing the entire time? I'm extremely impressed with our situation with 2 games to go considering the amount players we've lost to injury since the start of the season. I most certainly think KUDOS are in order for my man Dennis Kelly, the guy played with a heavy heart and did very well keeping Marcus clean after having lost his father; we all owe that man a thank you! We are very lucky to have a "plug-n-play" player like Kelly who can play anywhere on the O-Line you need him too at any time; that’s some rare versatility right there! Merry Xmas Jim and all Titans fans! Playoff bound!
Jim: Hey Chris. Appreciate it. As for Logan, I think he kind of explained his rationale himself: He said it’s his body, and he felt he should deliver the news. I think one of the main reasons coach Vrabel is so tight-lipped about injuries is because he wants to protect the players. As a former player himself, he understands where they’re coming from. As for Conklin, the extra time will help. He missed all the prep work during the offseason because of the injury, and now he’ll have a chance to really get right heading into 2019, and I suspect you’ll see him get back to the way he played prior to this year. And Merry Christmas to you Chris!
Have a great weekend everyone!
Series Flashback: Titans vs. Redskins
TitansOnline.com looks back at the all-time series against the Washington Redskins. (AP Photos)