NASHVILLE – It’s getting close to now-or-never time for the Titans.
Nine games into the season, the Titans need to get cracking. The team is two games down in the AFC South, and it needs to start making up ground.
There’s a lot to discuss in this weekend’s mailbag as we wait for the Kansas City Chiefs to roll into Nissan Stadium.
So let’s get rolling …
Perry Haynes from Naples, Florida
Question: My question is: With the Quarterback situation we now seem to have in Tennessee, I have not really heard anything about Logan Woodside except for he is injured on the practice squad. I thought he played extremely well in pre-season being the number 3. He seems to be able to move well in the pocket, run a little bit and also throw the ball well. At this point do we really have anything else to lose. I also wondered that since Mariota is in his last year, why not turn him loose and let him do his thing. I mean he is playing for a long-term deal. Give him the reins and let him go. If he fails, he fails, if he gets hurt, at least he went out trying to make it happen. Worst case scenario is we trade him or keep him as a backup. I would like to see Logan sometime this year to be honest. Thanks again for all you do. TITAN UP!!
Jim: Hey Perry. I’ve had a lot of folks ask me about Woodside, so I’ll point this out again – because Logan’s on practice squad injured reserve, he is not eligible to play for the Titans in 2019. And you’re making it sound like Ryan Tannehill has been terrible, and he hasn’t been. Heck, he’s been one of the bright spots on offense the past three weeks. As for Mariota, hey, I get that he has a ton of supporters. But he was given the reins at the start of the season, and he didn't play well enough to keep the job. So they’re now in the hands of Tannehill. Also, the trade deadline has come and gone.
Patrick Showalter from Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Question: Hey Jim. Every game there is a fan behind me that yells "set deuce deuce loose" when he wants to see Derrick Henry run the ball. Do you know how we can promote a twitter handle to #setdeucedeuceloose? Maybe we can get him more carries and he can rack up some big yardage. I thought this was a good handle, but then had the thought that maybe some Titans fans (like crazed Alabama fans) would take it the wrong way and promote the Titans letting him loose from his rookie contract and letting him go to another team when it expires. What do you think?
Jim: Hey Patrick. Well, I guess this is as close as we’ll get to promoting the #setdeucedeuceloose handle. Not sure it will take off. How about #doubledeuce? Hmmm, that one actually has a ring to it …
James Que from Charlotte, North Carolina
Question: Lifelong Titans fan who is ready for a shift from good to great so please humor me with this scenario about doing that in one offseason. Trade Lewan and Jackson along with our 1st round pick in 2021 (and our 2nd round pick in 2020 if necessary) to 1 of the top 3 teams in the draft for their 1st pick (bengals, jets, dolphins - jets probably the most likely being they have Darnold). With that pick select Chase Young. With Young, Landry, Casey and Simmons along with our young stars at MLB I think this would give us a fearsome front 7. We would be able to pressure the QB a lot better without as much blitzing. We would lose Lewan but Kelly showed the first 4 games that he is capable and that would free up money to sign other free agents (Henry, Ryan, J. Brown, Conklin and Tannehill, the latter two on team friendly deals). Conklin would be on a prove it type deal because I think resigning him would show the team believes in him and he may use that drive to get back to his pro bowl level. We could then use our 2nd 1st rounder to draft the best available OL or CB. On defense, the outside corner position would be filled by a rookie or Sims (Jackson isn’t playing at a shutdown level any way so trade him while he still has value) but if your front 7 is harassing the QB your corners wouldn’t need to cover for long. On offense, we would be able to find a difference maker on the IOL or at the very least find a valuable depth piece that Saffold and Jones can mentor until we release one or both of them following the 2020-2021 season (based on rookie OL draft pick and Davis’s progress). Tannehill would fill the void at QB until we found our franchise QB from the 2020 or 2021 draft.
Jim: Thanks for sharing your thoughts James. This sounds like offseason conversation to me, but when you’re 4-5, I get the imagination starts to run wild. I’m not subscribing to this theory, but appreciate you chiming in…
Bradley Wolfe from Aberdeen, South Dakota
Question: Good morning Jim, I've been in the mailbag a few times and thought I would write in again. When I look at the AFC as a whole there seems to be a lot of teams in our same boat. I am an eternal optimistic person when it comes to the Titans. Can you shed some light on the road ahead for the Titans? With four division games left and the Colts and Jaguars losing Sunday I believe we can make some ground up. Am I just too positive? Thanks for the time Jim. As always TitanUP!
Jim: Hey Bradley. You’re right – there’s still hope. And with two games left against the division leading Texans, there’s still a chance to win the division. But I’ll also say this: the Titans better start playing a whole lot better because the schedule coming up looks a lot tougher than the one in the rear-view mirror. If the team doesn’t step it up, this is going to go down as a lost season.
Greg Fogelman from Durham, North Carolina
Question: Long suffering Oilers fan who followed the team to Tennessee. I was at the game Sunday with my son and let’s just say the suffering continued. My question is about Ryan Succop. What on earth was he doing on the field during timeouts? I’ve been to hundreds of football games and I have never seen a kicker go out on the field and “practice” attempts by himself without a center, holder or football. Frankly it looked like he was drawing attention to himself and after that performance you’d think he’d want to avoid people looking at him. Maybe he needs another drill, that one ain’t getting it done. Guess that puts him in the same boat as most of the team.
Jim: Hey Greg. Ryan has done that same routine since he first entered the NFL, and it’s worked out pretty well for him I’d say – he’s had a heck of a career. He's visualizing his kicks on the field, while working on his technique. I remember seeing him do it in his first game with the Titans in 2014, and I’ve seen him do it every year and just about every game since. I’m surprised so many haven’t noticed (you’re not the only one who emailed me about this). Ryan had a bad day on Sunday, and he was the first to admit it. He feels terribly about it. Not sure he deserves the cheap shots for one bad game while coming off an injury that kept him out the first half of the season, but I guess that’s where we are at this point in the season...
Tony G from Wilsonville, Oregon
Question: So, the Titans pick #2 Marcus Mariota, former Heisman and bench him. Why haven’t they benched the other Heisman, Henry and also blame him for all the losses? He hasn’t done anything....The Titans had me. 100% and I live in Oregon. They took an amazing leader, player and dedicated guy and I was all in. Forget the entire change to the offense play book each year. Forget the ever-changing coaching changes and you watch they will fire this one also. Forget the fact that the Titans have NO offensive line. Forget the fact the Titans have a sub-par running game and just a few guys to throw to. One that is almost 40. Nope, it’s Marcus fault, bench him? Titans had me and lost me. On the same day! Drive my ass to a bar since no games are televised in the NW....Just to catch a glimpse of a guy that kills himself for his team. Pathetic! Should be ashamed! Barf on the NBA, NFL and most sports today. All about money, money, money. You should have drafted some damn linemen! #neveragaintitans
Jim: Hey Tony. They’re not about to bench Derrick Henry, because he’s been playing well. Heck, most folks in here want to see him more. I’ve said this before as well – Marcus was benched because he wasn’t playing well. Not sure what the QB decision has to do with money. The team is now starting a QB who is making a whole lot less…
Gus Aramayo from Denver, Colorado
Question: Hey Jim. I've got a theory on why the team's so inconsistent this year, and I'm hoping you can pass something along to the coaching staff. Vrabel made an off season change that hasn't allowed his team to take him totally seriously, and it's time to reverse course. Yes, I'm talking about his mustache. We need a leader of men, not Ned Flanders right now-it's time to bury his pride, shave the push broom, and right the ship.
Jim: An interesting theory, Gus. I think shaving off a mustache in Movember would certainly ruin any chances of turning things around. That’s just bad karma. And you do realize the last time the Titans went to the Super Bowl the head coach had a mustache, right?
Carl W. Jones, Jr. from Ramona, California
Question: Hi Jim. It looked as though the Tuesday Mail Bag got a little hostile...
Some things were said about the coaching staff, J-Rob and Tannehill and you just about came unglued when someone said that Mariota was better than Tanny. I was surprised because I thought that you were a straight shooter. But the way you dodge questions that put you in a position to speak up against players, coaches and management is pretty interesting to say the least. I think you are (too inappropriate to be used in this mailbag) or something because they were reasonable questions and the fact is that no quarterback can play well with that coaching staff but you are too afraid to say that aren't you?
I am no longer a Titans fan because they don't want to win and they ruin people's careers. They just about ruined Mariota's career and you are too chicken (expletive) to say it out loud. You are only interested in blowing sunshine and keeping your own job so you cannot tell the truth so that makes you fake news Jim...and yes, you have also failed Mariota with your BS...
Mariota and Henry need to get the (expletive) away from the Titans because they will never build the caliber of a team that will do anything. I've been a fan for three years and you guys are embarrassing. I'll just go back to the Chargers and hope that they accept me back because what is going on in Tennessee is nothing more than stand-up comedy...you should be ashamed for the crap that you peddle...
See ya down the road Titans and hopefully you didn't (expletive) up the careers of Derrick Henry and Marcus Mariota too bad and hopefully they can recover once they get the (expletive) away from you people...
My gosh, you people crack me up...bye.
Jim: Well, Carl, we've sure enjoyed having you as a fan the last three years. I can't speak for everyone in the organization, but personally I'm sure going to miss you. Good luck with the Chargers.
Larry Hickman from Paris, Texas
Question: Hey Jim, I bet you can't tell me how many carries D Henry had last week in the first half(lol)? I have been reading your mailbag for some time now, and have to say, God Bless Ya. I am a Titans fan now, started as an Oilers fan (actually met Earl Campbell when I was in High School. I really don't have a question, more of a statement to your audience. I get the frustration, and like most fans, I live and die on Titans game day. Doesn't matter who the quarterback is, doesn't matter who the OC is, just want to see my Boys go out and kick some tale. If some of you "Fans" are so unhappy, please join the Bengals or Dolphins fan clubs so that you can truly have something to complain about. I assure you, the true fan base will be here through the 3-13 seasons just like we are through the 13-3 years. Jim, I guess I do have a question after all. Do you think that folks would stop complaining if you implemented a 5 dollar fine for whining? I and most of the true Oiler/Titan fans love what you do, and love our Team, please keep up the great work and always look at the silver lining, if we don't make the playoffs, then the draft order
should help us be better next year. Peace be with you and yours, and God Bless.
Jim: Hey Larry. Yes, two carries. I counted. 😊
And thanks for the uplifting comments!
Samuel Williams from Elizabethton, Tennessee
Question: Vrabel has made it clear that he trusts his staff and I don’t expect any mid season changes. However, with the inconsistencies on offense, do expect Vrabel to take more of a role in the offensive game plan and be in more of their meetings? Each week you see some of our best players not being involved in the offense. ie: Davis getting no targets early on Sunday. I know plays were limited to penalties but it’s been the same story too often. Take the Texans for example, Hopkins is on the field 97%-100% of the snaps and Fuller is 90% or better, why? It’s there 2 best WR. I expect to see Davis with those same numbers along with brown A close 2nd. Their talent is undeniable. Good to Great is going to require your best on the field. I love the titans and i think playing your best is an easy first step in getting the offense play to a consistent level. Thanks for your time. See you Sunday against the Chiefs. #titanup
Jim: Hey Samuel. Fair question. I know coach Vrabel has been asked about this several times during the week, and both Vrabel and OC Arthur Smith said he’s involved to some degree – at least he’s in tune with the offensive plan each week. I’m kind of skeptical about him forcing change, however. I suspect he’s going to continue to let OC Arthur Smith do his thing, with input. I do think the team is as talented as its been at receiver in a long time, so hopefully those guys will make more of an impact moving forward.
Alex Farmer from Clinton, Tennessee
Question: Hello Jim. Season ticket holder here and first-time writer. There will undoubtedly be a ton of bashing in the mailbag this week. I am not going to focus on that. However, I have a question and a couple of comments. First, for my question, does #22 have stamina issues that we fans may be unaware of? I saw the snap break down and he received 40 snaps to Dion's 35. I understand Dion is a change-of-pace and 3rd down guy, but Henry is not on the field nearly enough in my opinion. Henry can catch some passes and make huge gains as we have seen. I think we need to allow for more of those opportunities. As for my second comment, our offense in general looks unbelievably bland. Local high schools run more exotic playbooks than we do. I really hope we shake things up offensively in some form or fashion. Thanks for all you do for the fans and the team.
Jim: Hi Alex. Thanks for taking the time. Derrick doesn’t have stamina issues. He’s good to run it like he did at the end of last season, when he was a workhorse. He just hasn’t been as involved in the plan in recent weeks, either because games didn’t unfold the way they needed it to or because of a game plan that’s certainly been up for debate in the fan base. I also would like to see Derrick close this season the way he did last season, because if that happens it improves the chances for success.
Derrell Lyles from Lanham, Maryland
Question: Hey Jim. I have been a fan since the Oiler days. I remember the Buffalo come back, I remember the multiple beat downs New England and Baltimore would give us when the team transitioned to the Titans. It’s been painful sticking with this team. But I am loyal. I have been reading a lot of your comments and it seems people are questioning why Dion Lewis is being used so much. I feel like he is not being used enough, at least for what he can be used for. Don’t get me wrong, I in no way think he should be our lead back, but he can cause mismatch problems with linebackers and become an outlet for the QB. Almost every team has a pass catching back now, and Lewis could be that extra weapon that could help open the offense up. What do you think?
Jim: Hey Derrell. Each back has a role, and coaches obviously want to see him involved. I’ll just say this: I suspect you’re in the minority with this take. And personally, I want to see more of #doubledeuce myself. (How’d you like that Patrick?) …
Have a great weekend everyone!