NASHVILLE – It was a crazy weekend in the NFL, and it included a preseason loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday night.
Next up is the preseason finale at Chicago on Thursday night, followed by the regular season opener at Cleveland on September 8.
But now, the latest Titans mailbag…
Brandon Tilley from Johnson City, Tennessee
Question: Hello again Jim. Hope all is well. What’s your take on Andrew Luck retiring and how much in your opinion does it benefit our Titans? Is this abrupt retirement the most shocking thing you’ve seen in your years around the league? Our O-line play last night was awful – I know Taylor Lewan wasn’t out there with the 1's but what else do you think is lacking from that group?
Jim: Hey Brandon. I was shocked when I heard the Luck news. I’d wondered if he’d be ready for the season, and never thought he’d retire. How does it benefit the Titans? Well, the Titans can only control what they do. Following the news of Luck’s retirement, I saw a lot of stuff on social media and in my inbox about how much it helps the Titans. Well, Indy’s QB situation has no bearing on what happens to the Titans in Cleveland, or in Jacksonville, or in Atlanta or vs. the Chargers, or vs. the Chiefs and so on and so on. You get the picture. The Titans need to focus on themselves, and players and coaches know this. As for the o-line play vs. the Steelers, you’re right – it was unacceptable. And it better be fixed by September 8 or the Titans will be, well,out of luck.
Terry Rogers from Bowling Green, Kentucky
Question: My family and I have been season ticket holders since 1999 and we have supported the team through thick & thin. This year seems to be starting out just like the last ten or so campaigns and it's pretty easy to get discouraged especially after the beat down we took from the Steelers on Sunday night. Everyone knows that it is the exhibition season but things look all too familiar..........poor QB play, a porous O-line and giving up big plays. Please tell me that our QB, O-line & D-backs are going to show up and play better that this all too familiar start!
Jim: Hey Terry. I’m not going to tell you Sunday night was anything but a clunker, because that’s what it was. It was ugly. But let’s keep things in perspective here. The starting quarterback played seven snaps. Derrick Henry didn’t play at all. The offensive starters played roughly a dozen snaps, and the starting defense played 10 snaps. So let’s not bury the entire team by such a small sampling. The team stunk it up on Sunday night, there’s no doubt about that. If it’s that bad in Cleveland, then there will even be more reason to be upset.
Michael Bailey from Kernersville, North Carolina
Question: Jim thanks for keeping the out-of-town fan base caught up with the team. My fiancée is a Steelers fan so we made the drive to the preseason game and to enjoy Nashville. However, the game didn’t quite live up to what we were expecting. There was less “starter time”, pesky weather, and an unfavorable outcome. Before the game I kept taunting my lady by yelling “Titan Up!”, and she replied “Nope! Loosen Up!” I believe our OL did exactly that against the Steelers. My questions are why do you think our OL appeared unbaked to protect anyone? Is there any reason the starters were pulled so early?
Jim: A lot of things to work through on the o-line, and head coach Mike Vrabel talked extensively about this on Monday. The team is still working to find out it’s lineup for the opener. Marcus Mariota was pulled after seven snaps because Vrabel didn’t like the way he was being protected, and I don't blame him. Eventually, he cut everyone’s night shorter than expected.
John Phillips from Seattle, Washington
Question: Hey Jim, I have a question about Mariota's nerve injury -- namely, if his hand is truly at 100%. I know he said he "felt good" when asked (about it) the other day, but all evidence points to him still having issues. We've never seen him be anywhere close to this inaccurate in camp before, and his throwing motion has looked a little awkward and elongated in preseason, like he's chucking with his arm more than flicking the ball with his hand. I'm not saying he looks terrible or anything, but for a guy who's known for his smooth, compact delivery and precise ball placement in the short/intermediate range, something definitely seems off. I know you wait for the injury reports same as us, but if you've heard any rumblings or have a gut feeling about the situation either way I'd appreciate your insight.
Jim: Hey John. I’ve been to every practice and every preseason game. Marcus said he feels good, so I'm taking him at his word -- and the fact he hasn't missed a single practice. And I know trainers and coaches wouldn’t have him out there if he was still dealing with nerve issues. Heck, Marcus wouldn’t put himself out there if he was still feeling it. Now has he been 100 percent accurate? I’m not going to sit here and type that in. I’ve seen him sail some throws in camp, and he’s sailed a few in games as well. I attribute some of it to him still working through timing with his receivers, and him getting regular season ready. He's also made his share of beautiful, on-target throws. I think for the most part he's been solid, and I think he’ll get it under control and develop even more consistency once we get rolling. We’re about to all find out a lot more when the games count.
Zain Hasan from Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Question: When will Titans start painting the field?
Jim: The fireball logo at midfield and the lettering in the end zones will be painted in for the regular season.
Bob Abuyi from Germantown, Tennessee
Question: Hey, Jim! With this being the first full year with Mike Vrabel's mustache, what are the chances you'll grow one for the 2019 season?
Joe Riccardo from Courtdale, Pennsylvania
Question: While I realize management feels Marcus Mariota should BE the defacto starting QB, one has to wonder WHY at this juncture in his career. Hiring Ryan Tannehill as his backup also makes management seem out of touch with any QB and their talent potential. Why NOT keep Logan Woodside as Number 2 and release Tannehill as Tannehill has shown no real spark when he was the starter for Miami? I ask that because even though I consider Mariota's "grace period" to improve has expired, I realize management does not have the foresight to name Woodside the starter, even IF he somehow managed to "walk on water..."
Jim: This is a surprising twist to the “quarterback controversy.”
Ryan Gilpatrick from Indianapolis, Indiana
Question: Hi Jim. An NFL.com article recently named Isaiah Mack as the team's most promising rookie. I know at this point that doesn't exactly mean much, considering the injuries our early round picks have suffered, but what do you think Mack's chances are to make the roster, or even start week one?
Jim: Hey Ryan. Mack has been solid. I think he has a pretty good chance to make the 53-man roster. I wouldn’t look for him to be a Week One starter, though.
Cedric Williams from Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia
Question: I would like to thank Andrew Luck for his professionalism and gridiron toughness. He helped establish the AFC South competitiveness in the NFL I wish him the best. He deserves a round of applause from Titans Nation.
Jim: Hey Cedric. Luck’s a classy guy. Well said on your part. And I'm sure many in the Titans Nation will give him a round of applause just for retiring. He's been a pain in the team's rear.
Bill in Spokane, Washington
Question: Mr. Wyatt. I'm certain I speak for all Titans fans when I wish Andrew Luck the very best. He was a top-tier quarterback, even with his injuries, and an outstanding young man. How tragic that this gut-wrenching decision was forced upon him. Let's all salute his courage and wisdom in safeguarding his long-term health. Sorry we'll never get to whup him on the field!
Jim: In agreement here as well. Thanks for weighing in.
Have a great week everyone!