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Tuesday Mailbag: Jim Wyatt Answers Questions from Fans

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Still fired up about that win on Sunday?

Well, I don’t blame you. The rousing victory over the Patriots was impressive.

But this Sunday’s challenge is another big one – the Colts are rolling as well.

Let’s get it rolling with this Tuesday’s mailbag…

Michael Bailey from Greensboro, North Carolina

Question: Hey Jim! Thanks for keeping all of us out-of-towners up-to-date without Titans! With the potential of our offense and the shutdown power of our defense, do you believe that we could recreate that game so long ago in 2000? This season has all the pieces in place for that to happen. Along with the positive direction of the Titans, the Rams look very formidable, and the Super Bowl will take place in Atlanta as it did that year. The only difference is that we're going to win this time!!!

Jim: OK, Michael. Now this would be fun. But let’s not get too ahead of ourselves! :)

John Cox from Camden Arkansas

Question: Hello Jim and everybody else who's a fan of the Titans. I've been a Houston Oilers fan since Thanksgiving Day, 1978, when I saw Earl Campbell run all over the Cowboys. I stuck with them through the good and bad and stayed loyal to the team/players when they made their move to Tennessee in 1996. I attended the Tennessee Oilers game in Memphis vs. the Raiders and watched Eddie George run wild! Mostly Cowboys and Saints fans down here in southern Arkansas so I've pretty much been on my own as a Titans fan. I'm proud of the way the team is currently playing and I really like Coach Vrabel. My question is why aren't we using Derrick Henry more? I'm fearful he will want a trade at the end of the season, even though he is getting redzone touches and is scoring touchdowns. I think if he had been given the ball more, the Titans would have wins against the Bills and Chargers putting us at 7-2 instead of 5-4 right now. What are your thoughts on Derrick Henry's touches per game?

Jim: Hey John. It’s tough to endorse taking running back Dion Lewis off the field. He’s been a real sparkplug, especially of late, and he needs to play. With that said, I thought Derrick ran the ball extremely well against the Patriots. He ended up with 58 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 11 carries, while playing just 16 of the game’s 65 snaps on offense. Coach Mike Vrabel has talked about rewarding players who perform well, and I think Henry probably earned some additional work after the way he performed Sunday. On Monday, Vrabel called Henry one of the team’s players of note.

Matt Myers from Round Rock, Tennessee

Question: It looks like at the very least we have found that chemistry I asked you about previously. Now hopefully we can maintain that and push on through the next seven games. I am proud of those guys two weeks ago fans were clamoring Marcus will never be this or that, Coach Vrabel has to go same old thing. I do not know if Marcus will ever be a Manning or Brady record-setting type guy, but honestly I will gladly say I feel he is an Air Mcnair type guy, Steve didn't seem to care much about anything other than winning, he was tough and no matter what he competed and lead during that great run. I see those same qualities, the team seems to love Marcus and fight with him until the end. Still might have some growing pains left to deal with on offense but our defense keeps us in games and when the pressure is highest Mariota delivers. I personally think that even if our win total isn't enough to get in to the playoffs, ( I hope it is ) I feel like we are a better team, and better coached, not a knock on Mularkey, I credit him with a lot of the growth and toughness on our roster. Do you feel close to the same way about it? Seeing the growth of these guys as a team that can make a run for several years to come. I hope you have a great day and thanks for all you guys do to keep us informed about our favorite team. Go TITANS

Jim: Hey Matt. You make some good points. I do see some McNair in Mariota, as far as leadership goes. Players do love him, and respect how hard he works. And we can’t forget how young Marcus is. He just turned 25, and is in year four in the NFL. McNair was in year five when he took the Titans to the Super Bowl, and his career really didn’t take off until after that. I think the best is yet to come from Mariota.

Kyle Caldwell from Pensacola, Florida

Question: Mr. Wyatt. My name is Kyle Caldwell and I am an MBA student at Pensacola Christian College in Pensacola, FL.

I have been a die-hard Tennessee Titans fan as long as I can remember and I just want let you and team know what that win (on Sunday) meant to me. I have seen a lot of Titans football and I cannot remember a day, especially in recent years where the team looked like a representation of motivation. I am sure that to most people, it seemed like an impossible win, maybe even to some of the players. But, to see them go out there with that resilience and completely DOMINATE one of the best teams in the NFL just meant so much. As my semester is coming to a close, it is very tempting to quit sometimes. With 3 extremely long papers and 3 presentations coming due in the next two weeks, I probably shouldn’t have stopped to watch the game, but I did. And honestly, seeing this team pull that off has completely motivated me to get through this week and month. I cannot wait for Christmas and to be back in Tennessee to hopefully see the Titans play Washington. Hopefully, that game will really mean big things for us!! Just wanted to pass along this to you and this amazing team!! Thanks!!

Jim: Hey Kyle. This is a great story. Thanks for sharing. It was a great win. Good luck on your papers, and presentations!!

Ron Kinlen from Knoxville, Tennessee

Question: Hey Jim, I was wondering if David Fluellen going in was a planned package. Or was there a need in the moment. Hope he can return soon. Clearly a warrior on special teams.

Jim: Hey Ron. It was a planned package. Vrabel noted Fluellen’s performance in practice, and said he wanted to give him a chance. I thought Fluellen provided a spark. Unfortunately he injured his knee and is going to be out a while. He’ll be missed.

Micah Layne from Coalmont, Tennessee

Question: Two in a row hopefully it turns into a long W streak! Love the play calling again and glad to see Henry getting a couple TDs. I was wondering how Jack Conklin was coming alone seems like he can’t catch a break. I also loved seeing our DBs lay the wood to the Pats receivers. Those guys seemed to not even want the ball in the fourth quarter. Great game and keep the streak alive. Thanks Jim.

Jim: Conklin remains in the concussion protocol, but he’s improving. He has to practice before he can be cleared. I’m thinking that could happen this week. As for the secondary, those guys played great, from cornerbacks Adoree’ Jackson, Logan Ryan and Malcolm Butler to safeties Kevin Byard and Kenny Vaccaro. They were physical, and they were around the football. Now they’ll need to keep it going against an Indianapolis offense that’s playing well.

Bill from Spokane, Washington

Question: Mr. Wyatt. How did Dennis Kelly grade out in relief of Jack Conklin? Thanks.

Jim: Hey Bill. Dennis played well. I thought the whole line played well. Marcus had plenty of time to operate, and the Titans racked up 150 yards on the ground. Kelly has been a great addition. I still remember when some folks ripped the trade of Dorial Green-Beckham to the Eagles, for Kelly. Well, DGB hasn’t played in a game since 2016, and Kelly has been a valuable o-lineman.

Paul Newton from Santa Fe, New Mexico

Question: Jim. I'm extremely happy to back off my frustrated comment on Marcus a few weeks ago. This is the team I envisioned from the start. My question is, interior line? Where in the draft should we address this issue? Last time we did this early was Chance Warmack. We know how that worked. Next, I really like the look at ILB of Brown and Evans in the future. Your opinion?

Jim: Hey Paul. It’s too early to start speculating on the draft. Teams out of contention, and with nothing to play for, do that, and that’s not the case in Tennessee. Right now, we don’t know where the Titans will be picking, and I’ll be honest – I haven’t looked closely at guys who might be available. Plus, we don’t know about the juniors. Will the interior line be addressed? Maybe. But the team likes Corey Levin behind starting guards Josh Kline and Quinton Spain. I do agree with you on the young ILBs – Brown and Evans have been good, especially Brown, and they’re just going to keep getting better.

Caiden Broyles from Morristown, Tennessee

Question: Why has Jalston Fowler been inactive?

Jim: Hey Caiden. Right now, the Titans are trying to get him up to speed. Even when he’s active, it’s not like he’s going to be on the field a lot in the offense anyway. I think the tight ends, especially Luke Stocker, have done a nice job in that role.

Gregory Crouch from Wisconsin

Question: Hi Jim. Do you think after the impressive performance against the Patriots that the Titans will get the respect they deserve? I was watching a sports columnist who is a big Cowboys fan saying the Titans won against his Cowboys because Dallas stinks. Then going on to ridicule my man Marcus saying he has a slow release. A bit surprising that someone following sports so long appears to not know what all goes into a quarterbacks release time.

Jim: In some ways, I hope not. I think it’s better when teams fly under the radar. Of all the postgame quotes from Sunday – not counting the one from Dion Lewis – I think the one that stuck out the most came from safety Kevin Byard. “A win like this, it says we are on the playoff hunt,” Byard said. “It just shows that when we play our ball and do what we need to do, and focus on us and nobody else, we can beat anybody in the NFL. But the last time we started feeling ourselves (after a win over the Eagles), we lost three straight games. So we can’t get caught up in the excitement. Every week it’s a different challenge.” Teams have to earn respect, and at 5-4, with losses to the Bills and Ravens, this team still has some work to do.

David Roy from Columbus, Ohio

Question: Hey Jim. Offense looks like it's clicking coming off the bye week which is great. What are the odds though of teams pursuing OC Matt LaFleur for a head coaching position in the off-season? Would Hue Jackson be a viable replacement if LaFleur did take a head coaching job? Curious to hear your thoughts on the matter and thanks again!

Jim: Hey David. Well, I think it’s going to be a topic in January. LaFleur, of course, interviewed for the head coaching job in Tennessee before Vrabel was hired, and he has a great reputation. He’s been around some really good head coaches, and quarterbacks under him have had a lot of success. The Titans, of course, would love to keep him. The thought of Mariota having to get used to another OC isn’t a great one. We’ll just have to wait and see. As for Hue, well, I’m not touching that one…

Nick Kranz from Kokomo, Indiana

Question: Hey Jim. I follow you on Instagram. Big fan of yours & appreciate all of your coverage. My question for you is a big one & it’s a topic I think a lot of us are concerned with. Derrick Henry. I want him to work out so much. What do you think of using Henry at a TE position? If you notice multiple times this season Henry will catch a short edge pass that where there is just enough space for him to make the catch & explode for yardage gains. We are already struggling at TE, Lewis seems to be producing at RB, what do you think?

Jim: Appreciate it Nick. You should get on Twitter as well (same handle: @jwyattsports). I’ve had a few folks ask me about this. I just don’t endorse it. Derrick is a running back, and I think he’s capable of getting the job done. He showed it again on Sunday. Sure, the team could line him out wide on occasion and get him in favorable matchups, but he’s a RB to me.

Marie Benton from Claxton, Georgia

Question: Here is my story of my love for the Titans: I am from Hawaii... In 1992 I moved to Tennessee because my husband was in the military ... I became a Titans fan and loved them ever since they came to Tennessee ... Years later I moved to Georgia and still was a die-hard Titan fan ... When Marcus got drafted it brought together my two worlds ... My Team and Our boy from Hawaii … I was so proud...I knew he was perfect for this team because I know how we are raised in Hawaii and how Marcus could bring that respect, kindness, humbling person (Aloha spirt) with him and let his ability to lead this team with those core values ... See, not everything is about force or being an "in your face" leader... Some great leaders lead with example and didn’t need to lead with an iron fist... I watch as this young man (our QB) plays every game with heart, works hard, harder than many, and sets positive examples... He has ups and downs, like others around him. But he never gives up... I believe in Marcus and I am extremely proud to call him our QB...I can promise you one thing. When he plays, he is playing to win... I feel a special connection to him not in any weird way just the connection of a heritage we wish we could explain to the world... A heritage that we share, born from across the Pacific. I pray for his success. Because they don't make young men with these qualities but every so often... With that being said I will always stand by Marcus, he is my QB until he is not.. May God bless him and our Titans and guide us to the Super Bowl one day… (Hopefully sooner than later.) "Kulia i ka nu'u" (strive to reach the highest). TITANUP

Jim: Great story Marie. Mahalo for sharing.

Have a great week everyone!

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