NASHVILLE – Not a bad way to head into the bye week, huh?
The Titans reenergized the fan base and changed the outlook for November and December with a thrilling win over the Chiefs on Sunday. It was an instant classic in my book.
Now the team needs to find a way to keep it going.
Let’s dive into another Titans mailbag and discuss …
Collin Bentley from Tuscaloosa, Alabama
Question: What a great win Sunday! To see the team withstand the pressure and maintain composure all game was incredible. At what point do us fans start questioning if we should get a new QB in the next draft/free agency? I was pretty confident we would after benching Mariota, but the way Tannehill has been playing is nothing short of a godsend this season, salvaging our playoff hopes. Tannehill is already 31 though, what do you anticipate we do? Maybe draft a quarterback Day 2 and let him develop? Where do you stand with Arthur Smith as the OC? I have been frustrated at times this year with the infatuation with involving tight ends and "conservativeness" on 3rd downs. On TV I heard the stadium boo when we threw a short pass on 3rd and long, I believe to Humphries. As frustrating as Smith has been at times, he does seem to trust the defense, and Henry lately; he has only called 10 games as an OC so I don't want to jump the gun on him but I can't imagine this team will be able to make noise in the playoffs with such vanilla and conservative play calls. Thanks for taking the time to read these, and I wanna give a shoutout to Jonnu Smith, he's looked great this year! TitanUp
Jim: Hey Collin. I was in T-Town on Saturday for the Alabama-LSU game, and then at Nissan Stadium for Titans-Chiefs the next day. I saw two incredible games. Your question is a good one. I’ve started thinking about this more of late, too. As you know, Tannehill signed a one-year deal prior to the season. At the time, I think most folks expected he’d spend the year as a back-up, and then he’d weigh his options while the Titans weighed theirs at the QB spot. Well, we’ve had some interesting developments, huh? It’s hard for me to predict what might happen right now. There’s a lot of season left, and a lot to be determined. But if Tannehill continues to play well, and continues leading the Titans to wins, I'm not so sure the Titans would pull a catch-and-release so quickly with the former Dolphin. As for Arthur, he sure looked a lot smarter on Sunday, huh? And you’re right on with the praise for Jonnu Smith – the guy makes the most of his opportunities.
Micah Layne from Coalmont, Tennessee
Question: Hi Jim what a win and what a statement we just sent to everyone letting them know if your gonna beat us your gonna have to play a rough tough 60 minutes. It is crazy how much of a roller coaster Titans games and seasons are, and that’s why I love watching this team. My question is will everyone be back healthy after the bye week?
Jim: Hey Micah. Well, time will tell. Malcolm Butler, of course, is done for the season. But I get the sense guys like defensive lineman Jurrell Casey, receiver Corey Davis, tight end Delanie Walker and linebacker Jayon Brown are all edging toward a return. Delanie said on Monday he expects to be back vs. the Jaguars. Winning on Sunday without all those guys made the W even more impressive. The bye week should help a lot with recovery.
Jefferey Fradsham from Crew, Virginia
Question: Titan-style victory! Pound the pigskin, tight end production, big plays on defense and special teams. Have we found our identity? We control our own destiny. A good place to be. Go Titans!
Jim: Hey Jeffery. It was definitely a gut-check win. Now the team needs to be consistent moving forward to stay in the chase. It’s a week-to-week league and three of the last four weeks have been good. But there’s a tough stretch of games coming up so the Titans have to keep it going. We can't ignore the fact the team has shown its capable of delivering some clunkers.
John Clark from Knoxville, Tennessee
Question: Jim oh Jim!!! How about them Titans finally the grind paid off. I’m glad Taylor Lewan admitted to his faults and I think he will do right by the team since he knows he’s under the microscope. Also I’m gonna do something different for the rest of the season regardless of win or lose I’m gonna lift our team up and continue to believe in them. I think that’s the jinx on our team everyone doubts them every game will they win 2,3,4 games in a row it doesn’t matter let’s just believe in our team and stop bashing them I was guilty of this big time. Now let’s go get this playoff spot and upset the sports world by going to the Super Bowl. Great job offense for stepping up because the defense had their hands full with No Casey or Davis, Walker they came through for us. Henry Deuce Deuce busting loose!!!
Jim: Hey John. It was good to see Taylor take some accountability. The next step is to quit committing penalties. Actions speak louder than words, so we’ll see if he follows through. Appreciate the comments. Man, your attitude has changed! You’d been spewing some venom in recent weeks but it’s all good. 😊
Mike Berkich from The Woodlands, Texas
Question: I saw your feeble attempt to make a case for RT games in comparison to MM8. In the games Mariota started with exception of Denver he took what he could get and the Titans I think you would agree could have won all of them. The Bills game two touchdowns called back and missed FG attempts. Colts game missed FG attempts are you going to defend that he didn't do enough for Titans to win those games? If you try don't think many would agree. So the question is if Titans go in to Broncos game 4-1 or 3-2 do you think coaches bench him after being down two scores, the answer is a resounding "NOT A CHANCE". My point is MM8 was playing well enough without any mistakes to make Titan winners in those games and yet Coach and GM have a private meeting with Miss Amy to convince her to bench their franchise guy. You have got to be kidding me. So Mr Wyatt say whatever you deem appropriate on your Ask Jim but don't insult us and compare RT with MM8. The body language and the belief of this team after benching the heart and soul has shown the rest of the Titan teammates this coach and J Rob with cut and dice whatever they want so loyalty once again is compromised. These two men never wanted this guy as they had nothing to do with bringing him in and they both want a Brady type pocket passer but the owner wanted him badly for all kinds of reasons. So watch closely now as the season spins out of control and start all over again, but rumor from Oregon is Herbert won’t come to Tennessee so look somewhere else, maybe Vanderbilt has a QB you can draft!! Best< MB NFL Scouting service.
Jim: Hey Mike. This email came rolling in on Saturday, just before Ryan Tannehill guided the Titans to another come-from-behind win. The team is now 3-1 since he stepped in as starter. The body language of the team didn’t look like a problem on Sunday as players swarmed Tannehill after he guided the team to another game-winning drive. Mike, think it’s safe to say this one didn’t age well …
Carlos Perez from Columbus, Indiana
Question: Hi Jim, long time reader, second time writing. I’m surprised reading about some “fans” leaving the team... they can go and “support” a different team every week if they want... but the real fans are loyal no matter what. My question: are there any hints of when Delanie is going to return? We really need him on the field! Thanks! Staying strong in Colts territory! Go Titans!
Jim: Hey Carlos. Appreciate the question. It’s become clear to me through this process some fans out there are a fan of one player, not necessarily the team. Hey, to each his own. I know the team appreciates your support and the support of all the loyal fans out there. As for Delanie, he said on Monday he expects to be back vs. the Jaguars.
Barbara Cowan from Salem, Oregon
Question: Good Morning. As a long-time fan and supporter of MM8, I started to follow the Titans after they drafted Marcus. I appreciate your efforts to keep new and life long Titan fans informed and up-to-date on Titan news. I had one concern when Marcus was drafted and that was the quarterback situation in Nashville and the need to have him start from day one. I know this is not uncommon in the NFL, but my feeling was that most rookie quarterbacks could benefit immensely from a year sitting behind and learning from a seasoned quarterback. That is why I thought the change to Ryan Tannehill might be a blessing. My question is, do you see anything at practices, in the games, meetings etc. that might indicate the Marcus is using this time as the growing and learning period that he did not get in 2015? Thank you so much and best of luck for the rest of the season!
Jim: Hi Barbara. As you would probably expect, Marcus has been a great teammate. He’s continued to work hard in practices, he’s continued to support Ryan Tannehill and other players, and he’s continued to put himself in a position to be ready if he’s called upon in the future. Thanks for your email and have a great day.
Mortimer Sneed from Chattanooga, Tennessee
Question: Just saw Taylor Lewan on SportsCenter trying to stop reporters from asking questions about his penalties, saying he knows he is “killing the team” and that he’s “just trying to finish.” At one point he even yells at someone across the room who presumably already asked him about it, “I got this.”
Since Taylor seems to not be able to help himself I got some ideas.
First, I caused it. I take responsibility. I was sitting with my season ticket buddies who had just said we’re doing pretty good against KC, when I said, “Well, I don’t know. We haven’t heard from Taylor Lewan yet. He’s usually good for a couple of holds and unsportsman-like conducts.” I swear to God that’s when he committed those penalties on two consecutive plays. I’m sorry. I won’t do that again.
Second, since he either can’t hear or can’t respond to a whistle, what about outfitting him with a special helmet that yells “STOP!” (actually I prefer “STOP, YOU IDIOT!”) in his ear when the whistle blows? I know this would require someone on our sideline to operate it, but I think it would be worth it to us. I also thought of a dog collar shock, but then I thought of Lewan’s temper and thought I wouldn’t mention that.Third, trade him.
Jim: Thanks Mortimer, I’ll run these by the veterinarian, um, head coach …
Leandro Sanchez from Houston, Texas
Question: Hey Jim! How’s it going? Second time writing in but I read every single mailbag. I would first like to start off by saying thanks again for all the time and effort you put in keeping us updated on our beloved Titans, and for putting up with all the chatter from our “fans”. I get disgusted watching our home games and not because of how our team plays but from how many fans we have from the visiting team. Today’s game against the Chief’s looked like a home game for them with a sea of all the red I saw in the stands. Nashville if y’all don’t want Titan football there send them back to Houston, we would love to have them back. They still have a very big fan base here. Every time I go to NRG when they come to town the stadium is 60/40 and we make our presence known. It’s time for Nashville to TITANUP and get behind our guys and stop selling your season tickets. Cause as I’ve said before if your not with us when we our at our lowest you don’t deserve to be here when we are at our highest. I will admit when we were looking for a new HC I was hoping we would get Matt LaFleur but Verbal has done a hell of a job in my opinion he has a strong personality. But as all things in life not everything goes according to plan. As far as our OC I get why they promoted him. Growth within a company is a good thing when the person works their tail off and deserves a shot. Today’s game proved that we have the talent, heart, guts, and leaders/coaches to throw punches with the big boys. We just need our fans to get behind them. My question Jim now that I’m done venting is does the OC have an offensive advisor that has OC experience coaching/training him up or is he just out there on his own? I ask because when Vrabel was in Houston he started out as a linebackers coach and when he was promoted to DC he had former(now current) DC Romeo Crennel as an advisor. Thanks again and tell our boys they played a hell of a game and to keep fighting. They still got loyal fans out there and not just bandwagon ones.
Jim: Hi Leandro. Thanks for taking the time and thanks for being a loyal reader. As for your question, I guess tight ends coach Todd Downing is the closest thing OC Arthur Smith has to an advisor. Todd is a former offensive coordinator who has a lot of experience. But I know all the guys on the offensive staff communicate during the week to prepare for Sundays, and he can lean plenty on Titans head coach Mike Vrabel.
Reinhard Schiendorfer from Pfäffikon, Switzerland
Question: Finally, 22 player(s) did a breathtaking job ... and to quote the mailbag's friendly (g)host: that's all I can say about that. Except that it is time to care for a new shirt: I still wear the one of 1999, but the number 27 you can hardly read anymore.
Jim: Appreciate it Reinhard. Hey, sounds like that throwback shirt is still working for you in Switzerland. Way to represent!
Roy Taylor from Hampton, Virginia
Question: Great game. Titans pulled off the win and played good. Secondary a little shaky though but we balled and won. My question is why wasn't the pass interference reviewed against A.J. Brown on 4th and 17 in the fourth quarter? It looked like a clear pass interference to me. Thanks.
Jim: Hey Roy. I asked Vrabel about this on Monday. Since the play happened under the 2-minute mark, it was out of his hands. I thought it was close, and could’ve been called, too. Here's what Vrabel said when asked if he thought it was a DPI: "Doesn’t matter. Whether they’re going to let them play under two minutes and let the guy upstairs – I don’t know. It’s not going to matter. I asked the (referee) next to me, ‘Did you see anything,’ and he said, ‘Not from here.’ Sorry, it’s only 60 feet. Maybe we should expect that they could see a little bit more than 20 yards.” So there's that.
Tony Johnson from Ewa Beach, Hawaii
Question: Hey Jim, got two questions for you if that’s cool... 1) What’s going on with Taylor Lewan? Since he came back from his suspension, he’s been making a lot of mental mistakes, drive-killing penalties. 2) As good as the defense has been at times, I’m starting to see the same problem creep up that has been plaguing this team for the better part of a decade and that’s the fundamental skill of tackling, what can be done to fix it? Numbers would a lot better if they do. Mahalo for your time...
Jim: Hey Tony. Lewan has been a hot topic this week. He needs to clean up his penalties, no doubt. As far as the defense, there were some missed tackles against the Chiefs. But some of those playmakers from Kansas City are lightning-fast and shifty. They make a lot of guys miss in the open field.
Ryan Orr from Chattanooga, Tennessee
Question: Hey Jim. Heck of a game this Sunday for the Boys. My question is: What does a win like Sunday say about Coach Mike Vrabel and his coaching staff after getting huge wins and with six games left can we still win the division?
Jim: It guess it shows he’s not as dumb as some folks have been saying.
Have a great week everyone!