NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Derrick Henry train keeps rolling, and so do the Titans.
The Titans have now won three straight games as they make their playoff push. On Saturday, they’ll try and keep it going at Nissan Stadium vs. the Redskins.
It’s mailbag time right now, though. So let’s get to it…
Evan Cook from Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Question: Morning Jim. What a different feeling since I last wrote you. So happy with Derrick Henry, he's got his Heisman swagger back. I don't think there's a better runner in the league over the past two weeks. Numbers aside, his ability to power through holes, shed aside tacklers with the stiff arm, or bounce it outside and turn on the jets is a rare mix of skill and vision that I have not seen in a while. A special shout out to the receiving core, especially Darius Jennings, who didn't draw a target this week but his blocking really stood out for me. Who is your unsung hero over the past 2 weeks? Cheers and happy holidays.
Jim: Hey Evan. Henry is rolling, no doubt. He’s been the star over the past two weeks. Unsung hero? I’ll give mine to right tackle Dennis Kelly. As you’ve probably heard, he lost his father last week. He missed one day of practice, and then was back at work when the team needed him most, following Jack Conklin’s season ending injury. Kelly played with a heavy heart, and he played well. The prior week he stepped in vs. the Jaguars when Conklin initially went down. Kelly has been a real pro since he’s been in the league, and I know his teammates appreciate his commitment.
Asa Fitzpatrick from Lutz, Florida
Question: Hey Jim. I know this is dangerous, but I'm looking ahead to week 17...What are the chances (if we beat Washington Week 16) that our Week 17 games vs. IND will be flexed to a Sunday Night Football game? Also, do you think that the Titans will overlook the Redskins and start to think about Week 17 and the playoffs? I know we still need the Ravens or Steelers to lose a game, but being that the Steelers have the Saints and the Ravens have the Chargers, I'm fairly confident one of them will lose.
Jim: Hey Asa. Well, some folks jumped me for throwing out the shutout statistic (the fact the last shutout before Sunday came in 2000) on Twitter before the last drive on Sunday. The Titans got it, of course, but I’m not about to jinx anything in here by looking ahead. The Titans need to beat the Redskins on Saturday, and if you look around the league you know there’s no such thing as a gimme.
Nathan Anderson from Saint Cloud, Minnesota
Question: Hey Jim! How are you? I just wanted to get your thoughts on Marcus Mariota's progress. I feel that at first he seemed to struggle to get into a rhythm in games. The one huge thing I noticed was how great he played against the Giants. I know he didn't have the best stats but I liked how he was so patience with the ball and was moving around in the pocket to give his receivers time to get open. I'm very happy to see him develop into a franchise quarterback.
Jim: Hey Nathan. I agree. Marcus only threw for 88 yards on Sunday, but I thought he impacted the game in a very positive way. He made a pair of big third down throws to Corey Davis, and he bounced around in the pocket and showed patience, as you mentioned. He’s obviously going to have to do more in most games, but when Henry is rolling it takes the pressure off Mariota. I thought he played really well on Sunday.
David Saavedra from El Paso, Texas
Question: Hey Jim! First time asking you a question! Me and my dad have been fans of the Titans since the literal time I was born! So I've been wondering for a while now if it's safe to finally say our team has now able to have Consistency in our plays? (Since our amazing 3rd win in a row against Giants) cause it has honestly been a challenge to actually guess if my team could or should win each game. It's a bit frustrating but I'm still willing to keep supporting my favorite team regardless I'm proud of the boys. Best wishes to you
Jim: Hey David. Thanks for stopping in. Well, the team has been consistent for three weeks in a row. But it needs to be five weeks to get in the playoffs. Someone asked Marcus about a letdown heading into the game vs. the Giants. My take: There should be no letdowns this time of the year. Lose, and postseason hopes are likely dead. So the Titans can’t expect to just show up and win on Saturday. The Redskins are fighting for a playoff spot, too. And we all remember it took everything the Titans had to beat the Jets a few weeks back. So the solid -- and consistent -- play needs to continue. Best to you.
Marcus Cobbs from Baltimore, Maryland
Question: Jim. I must say I'm loving how the coaching staff is calling these games. It’s December and all that finesse stuff should be out. I really just wanted to say please tell Marcus to KEEP THE MUSTACHE. It seems to me when he has that stache he physically goes hard. He blew that LB up. #Mariotamustache. Check the tape. Against Jacksonville he has the stiff arm. Against KC in the playoffs he catches a td pass and has the game dealing block. We might be on to something.
Jim: Thanks Marcus. It’s a hairy subject, but I’ll tell the other Marcus. :)
Jason Noble from Martinez, Georgia
Question: Hey Jim, first time writing. I am a Titans fan because of Mariota, I am a die-hard Duck, born and raised. Being a Duck fan, just wanting to know what the feeling is in Nashville on Mariota getting his next contract and do they want him there, he seems to get bashed a lot, in the media from what we read?
Jim: Hey Jason. Well, it depends on which week you ask. Personally, I believe he’s a franchise quarterback and I really like him and his game. I haven’t taken a poll, but I believe the majority of the fan base feels the same way. I also realize there are some out there who disagree. I hear from them in here and on Twitter when he has an off day. Marcus just needs to keep developing, and keep staying heathy. He’s had to work through a bunch of changes around him.
Jabari Jackson from Merced, California
Question: Hello Mr. Wyatt. Our TE depth is a big a cause for concern. Can you share some insight on Anthony Firkser as a blocker? I believe he can catch the ball, but are we gonna have to have a 4th stringer come in help block?
Jim: Well, it’s not his strength, and he’d admit it. But he’s working to get better. His strength is catching the ball, and he hasn’t dropped a pass all season. Luke Stocker and MyCole Pruitt are regarded as better blockers, and they’re doing a nice job. The team usually keeps three tight ends active on Sundays so the 4th – Cole Wick – was inactive on Sunday (he was also injured).
Bobby Jones from Statesville, Tennessee
Question: Hey Jim thanks for the coverage. I'm a Titans fan and have been one since the move. Love this team love the new coaches. Just wish everyone would give these guys a chance. We are in the mix and can beat anyone in the league. We just have to get consistent. Win out is the plan and I believe in our guys. We got this. Just missing our Pro Bowl tight end. Just think of what our offense would look like with him. Love the RB tandem just don't get why the line is not making holes. Last week was awesome Henry did his thing. We need another few weeks like that from him. Please don't forget about Lewis. He is also a beast. He will have his moment before it’s all over. Rock on titans
Jim: Appreciate it Bobby. The o-line is creating some holes, though. Henry is running through guys and stiff-arming defenders away, but he’s had room to run as well. Now the offense just needs to keep it going.
Tre Ferguson from Brandywine, Maryland
Question: Hi Jim. First off I wanted to thank you for keeping all us out of state fans up to date with what's going on with the Titans. I've been a fan since the Oilers Run n' Shoot days and will be making my first trip to Nashville for the Skins game. I wanted to get the full fan experience and i was wondering if you any suggestions on where to go/what to do before and after the game?
Jim: Hey Tre. You’re coming at a great time. The weather looks good, and it’s a big game. Not sure when you’re coming to town, but definitely hang out on Broadway downtown, on Friday night and the weekend. If you have time, you should go to Gaylord Opryland Hotel to see the Christmas lights outside, and inside. It’s beautiful during the holidays. As for game day experience, here’s the link to everything that will be happening: https://www.titansonline.com/stadium/gameday.
And follow me on Twitter (@jwyattsports) for other info leading up to the game. I can tell you Red Sox star Mookie Betts will be the 12th Titan, and the giveaway will be a Titans beanie. Have a great time!
Have a great week everyone!