NASHVILLE – Here’s hoping everyone enjoyed the bye weekend.
Now, it’s time to get geared up for the stretch run.
The Titans have six games left, and they need to take care of business.
Speaking of taking care of business, it’s time for another mailbag…
Henry Martin from Jacksonville, Florida
Question: Jim, hello from Jacksonville. Navy veteran here -- you have answered a couple of my questions and I appreciate for posting them. I don't have a question for you today, I just wanted to share an awesome experience. So, I was at the airport about to fly out to see my mom. She is having bypass heart surgery in next couple of days and on top of that we found out that she has stage for kidney disease. Rough times.... Anyways, I was about to check my bags in and I looked to the right and almost fainted!!! King Henry was checking in his bag!!! I think I was the only one who recognized him. If you would please let him know I appreciate him taking the time to pose with my family and me.
Jim: Hi Henry. Well, best of luck to your mom in surgery and prayers going up from Titan-land. Hope all goes well. And thanks for sharing the story about Derrick. He went back to the Jacksonville area over the weekend for a special ceremony for a new sign in his hometown. Derrick’s name is now featured on a new welcome sign in Yulee, Florida. It now reads: "Welcome to Yulee. Home of Derrick Henry. 2015 Heisman Trophy Winner." Pretty cool, huh? And pretty cool he stopped. Thanks again for sharing the encounter and I’ll tell him you appreciated it.
David Siler from Thousand Oaks, California
Question: Hi Jim, appreciate you always keeping us up to date. My question is regarding Jeffery Simmons. It seemed like his first game was gangbusters but I don't think I've heard his name since. Is he getting more or less reps? What gives?
Jim: Hey David. Fair question, because Simmons was so easy to notice in his debut, when he had a sack and six tackles. He played 20 snaps in that game. You’re right in that Simmons hasn’t had a sack since, but he has been playing more and he’s been productive, mainly doing a lot of dirty work in the trenches. He’s made some plays that have gone unnoticed. One example: On the play vs Chiefs when linebacker Rashaan Evans picked up the loose football and returned it for a touchdown, it was Simmons who set the edge and forced the runner inside, resulting in linebacker David Long forcing the fumble. Overall, Simmons played 33 snaps vs. Tampa Bay, 49 vs. Carolina and 45 vs. the Chiefs. In four games he has 17 tackles, six QB pressures and a tackle for a loss.
Johnny Long from Bowling Green, Kentucky
Question: What a great game by the entire team against the KC Chiefs! I will admit I had my doubts, but the whole team showed up and earned an amazing W. People can say all they want about Tannehill, but when it comes down to crunch time, Tannehill is clutch! However, my question is more directed towards the office staff. Why were the Titans one of the 8 teams that showed up to Kaepernick’s workout? I get that there’s a lot of Titans “fans” that seem to be interested in the Titans signing him, but I don’t think the Titans need that added drama. That being said, going from Mariota to Kaepernick doesn’t exactly seem like an upgrade. I would prefer Tannehill any day.
Jim: Hey, Johnny. I really think it’s just the team doing its due diligence.
David Haworth from Sweetwater, Tennessee
Question: Hi Jim, I am a huge Taylor Lewan fan because I love the rugged style of play he brings to the game. Playing left tackle Taylor goes up against the best pass rusher each team has to offer and I think many of his holding penalties are because he can't hold the block any longer and he is protecting his QB the best he can at the moment. I would rather have a drive-killing holding penalty than to have our QB put out of the game on a huge blind side hit. I wouldn't trade Taylor for any other Left Tackle in the entire league. I watch Taylor until his block is made and then try to pick up the other action. I would suggest some of his critics to do the same thing for a game or two. Thanks for allowing me to give my opinion on one of the best Left Tackles in the league
Jim: Thanks for chiming in David. Taylor has been beat up in here some in recent weeks, while he’s also beat up himself. Taylor has said himself he knows he can play better and he knows he needs to clean up the penalties, but without question he’s not the only one who needs to play better down the stretch. I'll tell him you have his back.
Brandon Green from Nashville, Tennessee
Question: Before the season started I wrote in about rooting for Sharif Finch. He’s been quiet so far this season and I think I even remember seeing him as a healthy scratch in a game. Flipside, I didn’t remember seeing Correa on the roster to start the season, and yet here he is ahead of Finch on the depth chart. Can you give a little insight into what’s been happening in the deeper parts of our linebacking depth chart? I haven’t had my eye on them enough to understand whether it’s a strength or weakness for us right now
Jim: Hi Brandon. Sharif was really good at the start, in training camp and the preseason. But he has been mostly quiet -- he has 13 tackles, two sacks and 1 QB pressure on the season. Why hasn't he made more of an impact? A big part of the reason is he was slowed by an injury that kept him out for several games and has limited his production. He did have a sack against the Panthers a few weeks back, so that’s a good sign. I asked OLBs coach Shane Bowen about Finch on Monday and he said Sharif needs to be more consistent. Said he’s put some good stuff on film, but said there have also been plays where he’s needed to be better. He’s a work in progress, and there’s no doubt all the time he missed in the spring while recovering from a 2018 injury set him back.
Peter Cronk from Colorado Springs, Colorado
Question: Hey Jim! I'm responding to your answer to one of the questions in the Weekend Mailbag (Nov 15th, 2019) (regarding listening to the entire radio broadcasts after the game). Yes, (it’s an option!) It's not free, but NFL Gamepass (gamepass.nfl.com) allows you to listen to the live radio broadcast of the home or away team, and you can also listen to it after the game is over. I'm actually listening to the full radio broadcast from the Chiefs@Titans game right now! It also has replays of the TV broadcasts of all of the NFL games. I love listening to Mike Keith call the plays, and I also like the OTP! The Titans have collected the best radio broadcaster, analyst, and writer in the game. Well done to all of you, and I look forward to continue benefiting from all of the media team's hard work. Thank you all!
Jim: Hey Peter. I appreciate the comments, and I appreciate you sharing this information. And I’m sure Mark McMahon from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, appreciates it, too, since he asked about it! This is great to know!
Simon Aston from Leeds, United Kingdom
Question: Hi Jim. Greetings again from over the pond! As one of the small but enthusiastic group of UK based Titans fans, it was great to hear your interview on the Transatlantic Titans podcast this week. It was interesting to hear what you thought about the future quarterback situation moving forward next season. There's going to be a number of veteran big name QB's coming on the market for 2020. If we let 17 & 08 go, do you see us getting one of these veterans in free agency, with a view to drafting a young QB who can learn as a back-up for a year? Or do we keep Tannehill in that veteran role? Cheers.
Jim: Hey Simon. I enjoyed that podcast! It’s way too early to know what’s going to happen at the QB spot moving forward. Tannehill’s play has been encouraging over the last four games, and if he keeps playing at a high level I could definitely see him being a contender moving forward. But what he does in the final six regular season games and hopefully beyond will help the team decide. Put this in the TBD category.
Vivian Reed from Otay Mesa – West, Californa
Question: Aloha Jim.
1. Is Tannehill really that good?
2. Or Did the Offensive Line get better?
3. If the Offensive Line got better, what made that happen? Coaching? Leadership from Tannehill? What made the difference?
4. Why did they have Mariota catching for Tannehill in practice?
Mahalo Nui Loa!
Jim: Aloha Vivian. Let’s go rapid fire here.
1- So far, so good for Tannehill. But a four-game stretch doesn't make a season. He needs to keep it up.
2- The o-line has been better, no doubt.
3- It's been a combination of things. A successful running game helps, and the QB is getting the ball out quicker, too. Overall, I just think the unit has performed better.
4- I shot the video you’re referring to (of Mariota catching the pass from Tannehill). They’re not working on a trick play – if they had been, I wouldn’t have sent it out on social media. That would likely be grounds for dismissal. 😨 The QBs have been throwing tosses to one another in individual drills in practices, since the start of training camp, although I will say Marcus sold the route better in that video than any of the QB routes in the past. Looked convincing, huh? And boy did folks notice -- as of last night that video had been viewed over 250,000 times! Mahalo Nui Loa!
Hunter Phelan from South Pasadena, California
Question: Hi Jim, once again thanks for all the great articles ,and most importantly the Jim Wyatt mailbag for all of us fans to stay connected . First off, I want to apologize to Coach Vrabel. Last time I wrote in, I was pretty critical of his in game decision making saying it was __ awful. Well he showed me. He was spot on in the CHIEFS game, more then helping and guiding us to victory. I know there are Titans fans, and non Titans fans, who wanted to stick a fork in us. Frustration in losing brings out the worst in us. All of us fans should remember the KC game, no one had Titans winning. FANS gotta support this team through the bad and the good. Last mailbag had someone say they're never watching another Titan game because MM8 is not the QB anymore. Shouldn't matter who the QB is. We're fans or we aren't. Simple as that imho. Btw # 17 hasn't been darn good!
All the sudden looks like week 14 I believe Raiders vs Titans looking like a huge game. I have 8 family members sitting in the 8th row right behind Titans bench. We arrive Saturday afternoon. Will there be any places for TITANS fans on Saturday night to meet and greet? If not see you Dec 8th. Can’t wait !!! Go TITANS!!!
Jim: Hey Hunter. Go Dodgers! Good to hear from you again. What was the_ _part of your description? 🤣
Don’t worry, it’s all good.
As for places Titans fans might meet in Oakland, I haven’t heard that far in advance. I may hear the week of game. If I do I’ll tweet it out from my account (@jwyattsports). Hope to see you there. Man, 8 family members sitting on the 8th row for a game on the 8th of December? Talk about Crazy 8s! Oh well, I always enjoy visiting the Black Hole. It should be fun. That place kind of reminds me of the Magic Kingdom. 🏰 ...
Have a great week everyone!