NASHVILLE – So, how did everyone like the preseason opener?
Not too shabby, huh?
The Titans kicked off the 2019 season with a 27-10 win over the Eagles in preseason game No. 1, and now the real fun starts – the New England Patriots come to town next week for joint practices, and a preseason game next Saturday.
While we wait, let's dive into another Titans mailbag.
David Siler from Thousand Oaks, California
Question: Hey Jim, thanks for all the intel on Titans insiders. Maybe you have answered this already and I missed it: What's the status of Derrick Henry? I was so much hoping to see him pick up where he left off last season it's a little disconcerting to see him missing so much preseason practice with little mention of a return date?
Jim: Hey David. Unfortunately, he hasn't practiced since the first day of training camp, and no return date has been given by coach Mike Vrabel. I've seen Derrick around -- he's shown up after a few practices to sign autographs, with a sleeve on his calf. The team won't rush him back. What's most important is to get him ready for the regular season.
James Brown from Nashville, Tennessee
Question: Hey Jim. The week of the Ravens blowout last year, I was at the Titan's front office waiting on some auction items for a nonprofit. Practice had just finished, and it was the day when third down was installed. Behind me was a guy who claimed he worked for the contracted printing company used by the Titans and that he had to do some routine maintenance. Well, I'm a blind guy who has spent a lot of time in Baltimore and I noticed that this guy sounded like he had a Baltimore accent. I made a joke asking for security not to let this guy in, that he was actually a Ravens' spy. Then, at the game that Sunday, we got blown out as badly as I have ever witnessed, and it mainly happened on third down, with a hyperbolic hundred sacks and fifty third and twenties converted. Midway through the second half, I started to think my spy joke was not at all funny because anyone can walk up to a printer, hook in a device and hack anything that has been printed on that printer for a good period of time. My question is in this day where spying has become so complex, what are the Titans doing to secure the important parts of their game plan from week to week?
Jim: Hey James. Well, this explains why my printer never ended up working last year!
Seriously, practice is off limits to out-of-towners during the season, and there's a local company that works on printer repairs.
Robert Conlon from Baltimore, Maryland
Question: With Cameron Batson on IR, does that mean he's out for the season, or could he return down the road? I know it would have tough for him to make the roster, but if he is able to return, it might not be the worst thing, since he probably could have been poached by another team if he was let go. As teams' rosters start to thin a little come December, he'd be a good insurance policy at wide receiver.
Jim: Hey Robert. I see you're from Baltimore. Just curious: You don't work on copiers by chance, do you? Just kidding. :)
As for Batson, he's out for the season. Same with D'Andre Walker, who was placed on Injured Reserve on Saturday. Here's the rule, which I admittedly sometimes have a hard time remembering each year when players start going to IR: A player must be on the 53-man roster at the start of Week 1 to be eligible for the IR designation to return. Anyone who was placed on IR before roster cuts to 53 players is not eligible. If you remember, this impacted receiver Tajae Sharpe a few years back. (In an early morning version of this mailbag I was thinking Batson might be eligible to come back, but I've since been reminded of the rule). Hope this clears it up, Robert.
Jon Porter from Austin, Texas
Question: Kinda of cold, business question: Since it appears that Mr. Lewan will serve a four game suspension, he will not get paid those four games. Does his paycheck roll back into the Titans cap? If so, this would likely give the team an extra million, plus for the year. If it does not roll back into the cap, where does the money go? Back to the team? To charity? Thanks.
Jim: Hey Jon. Fair question. The answer: The team will receive credit for what Taylor is scheduled to be paid for those four games, if his appeal is denied. And barring a reversal, the team will get a cap credit for what he's not paid.
Peter Ortensie from San Antonio, Texas
Question: Real quick, real simple question: Have the Titans ever worn red jerseys during a game? If so, when was it? Someone told me they have, but I don't recall ever seeing them in red uniforms.
Jim: Hey Peter. No, the team has never worn red jerseys in a game, even though I've seen them floating around stadiums in the crowd since way back in 1999.
Blaine Manns from Jacksonville, Florida
Question: Hey Jim. How do you think the O-line looks this year? Do you think they can protect Marcus better than the past few seasons? Thank you.
Jim: Hey Blaine. Obviously having Taylor facing a looming four-game suspension is not ideal, because it's forced the team to do some shuffling. I think the current starting five – Dennis Kelly (LT), Rodger Saffold (RG), Ben Jones (C), Kevin Pamphile (RG), Jack Conklin (RT) is solid, but I wouldn't write it down in Sharpie just yet. Some things still to be determined. But I think the group can get the job done, and Lewan's return will provide a boost.
Eli Decko from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Question: A few fun ones for ya this time sir.
1. Which Titan got dissed the hardest by Madden 20?
2. Outside of pay scale do you believe Kevin Byard is the best safety in the NFL? Personally I do.
3. If you could take any former Titan, 97-now, and put them on this roster who would you choose and why.
4. With the Titans as an obvious choice as the AFC representative, what is your dream Super Bowl?
5. In the post Jeff Fisher era, which Titans coach had the strongest presence?
6. Do you ever get tired of answering all my questions?
Thank you Jim, can't wait for regular season football!
Jim: OK, Eli, let's do this.
1. Kevin Byard.
2. Definitely among the best, if not the best.
3. Eddie George. Was a chain mover and a tone-setter. Probably my all-time favorite Titan.
5. Mike Vrabel.
Have a great weekend everyone!