NASHVILLE – Well, it’s now less than a week until training camp.
Would you believe it’s less than three weeks until the preseason opener?
There will be even more to talk about then, but for now, let’s roll out another Titans mailbag…
Armando Farill from Mexico City, Mexico
Question: Hi Jim, what do you think is the key to win the AFC South this year and what should be done to beat Andrew Luck for the first time? Greetings from Mexico City, we hope to receive you soon.
Jim: Hola Armando. Well, Mike Vrabel has talked about being more consistent this fall. The Titans had great wins over New England, Philadelphia and Dallas, and then ugly losses to Buffalo and Baltimore. This applies to the division games as well. It’s going to take a team effort to beat Luck and the Colts, from harassing him on defense to putting up points on offense. Hey, Luck isn’t invincible. Did you see Indy’s playoff loss to the Chiefs last year? Unfortunately, he’s been pretty darn good against the Titans, and that needs to stop.
Greg Neumann from Madison, Wisconsin
Question: I feel this season comes down to one thing - and it will be answered very early: can we FINALLY BEAT ANDREW LUCK? I feel like if we can get over that hump mentally it would be a great indicator for the season. How much is that talked about and do you sense the coaching staff has special plans for that game particularly?
Jim: Jeez. Sounds like all the losing to Luck is weighing on folks. Hey, I agree – the Titans have to find a way to beat him. But the coaching staff isn’t focused on that game right now. It’s focused on the season opener against the Cleveland Browns – led by quarterback Baker Mayfield -- on September 8.
Rico Washington from Temple Hills, Maryland
Question: Hey Jim. Hope you’re excited about the season drawing near! My question is about my quarterback Marcus. It’s a “prove your our guy year” for him. My question is do you think if we don't make the playoffs this year but Marcus plays a full season that would play a negative affect in JRob’s and staff decision on whether he gets "Titan-Chise" or cut? Keep in mind we don't have a walk in the park schedule ahead of us. Thanks for all the work you do Jim and as always #Titan☝ #4DABOYZ
Jim: Hey Rico. The Titans want to see Marcus stay healthy and play well, but I don’t think his future can necessarily be pinned in the final win-loss record, or his stats. I’ll remind you: In 2016, Marcus threw 26 touchdowns and only nine interceptions and the team went 9-7, but missed the playoffs. In 2017, Marcus threw 13 touchdown passes and 15 interceptions and the team went 9-7, made the playoffs, and beat Kansas City in the first round. The owner, GM and HC are all looking for clarity on Marcus, and his future. Exactly what it will take to make them feel good about giving him an long-term deal is really hard to say.
Morgan Brooks from Franklin, Tennessee
Question: Hey Jim, I have a few jersey questions. First of all, do you know if the white jerseys/powder blue pants will be our away primary this year? Do you know if and when the Titans would release a jersey schedule? And what is your favorite jersey/pant combo?
Jim: Hey Morgan. The Titans are at the mercy of the home teams for their road uniforms. Remember, they were decked out in light blue in the first two road games last year because the Dolphins and Jaguars wore white. From October on, I’m betting the team will be in white on the road again, but you could see them in white, light blue or navy blue britches to go with it. In previous years, the team hasn’t put out a jersey schedule – it’s been released from week to week. My favorites? Probably the old school navy blue tops with white pants, I mean, britches.
Mike O’Brien from Mount Vernon, Virginia
Question: Hi Jim; Strong Titans & Jim Wyatt fan here. Thanks for keeping fans up to date and for the objective feedback. There's certainly been a lot of discussion about Mariota & the offense this year ... all positions. I'm sure you'd agree that the talent is there. Last year though, the Titans ranked 29th in 'Number of Plays per Game', which is just one of several stats that show we did not Move the chains! For everyone on offense to contribute, they've got to get their hands on the ball. With so many weapons, the only way to do that is to keep moving the ball down the field. I think that falls on the OC. How do you feel he will handle that pressure this year and what challenges do you feel will be his toughest to overcome? Thanks again for keeping us all in the loop!
Jim: Appreciate ya Mike. And good observations on your part. I think OC Arthur Smith will handle things well. He’s smart, has a good demeanor, and he’s a good football coach. The biggest question mark heading into the season for me is how the running game will do right out of the gate, and how things play out will determine how much stress he’ll be under. If Derrick Henry and the run game get the job done at the start like the unit did in December, it will make things a lot easier from a play-calling standpoint. If the run game struggles like it did at the start of 2018, then it will make things more difficult for everyone, from Smith to Mariota and beyond.
Justin Cynor from Sheldon, Wisconsin
Question: Hey Hi Jim. Hope you're staying cool on these summer days! Got a madden question for ya. Any of the guys fired up about their ratings? Saw a lot of other players around the league ranting. Thought Byard got snubbed a 90+ for this year?
Jim: Hey Justin. I’ve seen some guys sound off on social media about it. I thought punter Brett Kern had the best line about it. Kern said: ‘I don’t think Jon Robinson and coach Vrabel build our team based on madden ratings #JustSayin.’ The good news is soon we can switch the conversation from Madden ratings to real football.
Have a great weekend everyone!