Behind Enemy Lines

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Ask Jim: First Week of OTAs in the Books




]( looks back at the first week of OTAs at Saint Thomas Sports Park. (AP Photos)

The first week of organized team activities is in the books.

There's plenty to talk about. So let's get right to it…

Devono Chester from Memphis, TN

Question: Hey Jim. With Training camp coming up I was wondering if the Titans were in the process of maybe trying to sign more veteran free agents, especially for the wide receivers.

Jim: Hey Devono. I'm not ruling it out. Keep in mind the team has the No.1 spot in the waiver wire process, so if someone is set free the Titans have the chance to snag him. Right now, the team is looking at its own guys, and plenty of players are in the competition – Kendall Wright, Rishard Matthews, Dorial Green-Beckham, Harry Douglas, Justin Hunter, Tre McBride, Tajae Sharpe and Andrew Turzilli among them. How things develop in-house will help Jon Robinson and Mike Mularkey decide if further help is needed. We may not know the answer to this one until later in the summer.


Kenny Gore from Horse Cave, KY**

Question: Hey Jim. I know this is a busy time for you, but I love seeing the Titans mailbag segments!! I have a couple of questions this time around.

One: With two high-profile RBs on this team do you think the Titans will take the "Hot Hand" approach at the position? I know DeMarco Murray was brought in to be the "Bell Cow". However, if Derrick Henry is having a good game will we still see him pulled to get Murray reps? I hope not, unless he needs a breather. We saw RBs pulled far too much under Whisenhunt IMO. It was too hard for anyone to get into a rhythm & maintain it.

Two: It is WAY early I know; and we are not in pads. However, have you seen a rookie or vet that has really stood out; or impressed at their position? Maybe someone who might surprise some. I love an underdog. I think Kevin Byard may surprise some folks and make a pushing for the starting FS spot. The kids has natural ball skills.

Thanks for making this team more visible & fans more informed than ever before. It really has been much easier to follow team happenings since you came into the fold! Keep up the great work.

Jim: Hey Kenny. Hope you're still on the comeback trail. Appreciate your comments. The plan is for Murray to be the starter, and to get the bulk of the carries. And he's been impressive so far. I expect him to have success. But henry is going to get his share of carries as well, and you know how this works – if one guy is tearing it up, he'll get more opportunities. We'll just see how things play out. As for early stars, the running backs have looked good. I think cornerback Perrish Cox had a good week. I like the looks of Tajae Sharpe at the receiver position, and Dick LeBeau praised Byard this week. But it's early to make a read on too many guys.

Chad Alexander from Jacksonville

Question: Hi Jim. As a Titans behind enemy lines in Jacksonville, Fl., I depend on you to keep me in the loop, so thanks! My question is regarding Chance Warmack. It seems he was a left guard at Bama. Could playing him on the right be putting a square peg in a circle?

Jim: Hey Chad. Warmack is comfortable on the right side now. Mularkey was asked recently if the Titans might consider working Warmack at left guard. He said it's a possibility, but he didn't commit to it, so we'll have to wait and see. Right now, he's still lining up at right guard, and the team thinks he can be successful there.

Gregg Kotzman from Smyrna, TN

Question: You hear a lot about the Titan's Offensive Line's new attitude, using terms like "Road Grader", "Bull Dozier", etc.  Let's formalize it now and call them TDOT. Tennessee Department of Transportation - Paving the Way... [insert favorite ending here]. -Gregg

Jim: Not bad, Gregg. Not bad at all…

Paul Britt from Henderson, KY

Question: When will you release the training camp schedule, or at least the dates that will be open to fans? I've got to schedule time off of work and book hotel reservations, as we are part of the Titans fan base in Henderson, Kentucky.

Jim: Hey Paul. Probably not until some point in July.

Justin Gozzard from Astoria, Oregon

Question: Hey Jim. Two part question...Why does Kendall Wright not get any credit? He has been by far the best WR for the Titans over the last couple years.  If he stays healthy and they get him the ball he is extremely productive.  I don't get it.  Put him on a good team and lookout!

2nd, I'm a little surprised in all the talk about protecting Marcus Mariota, that I haven't heard anyone talk about Mariota getting better at feeling the pocket collapse.  He seems to wait until the last second to start to avoid pressure when it is often too late.  Most QBs will constantly move around to keep a buffer zone between them and defenders.  I'm not dismissing the fact that our line needs improvement, but I believe that Mariota could do a much better job as well.  Your thoughts...

Jim: Hey Justin. Kendall is definitely talented, and I think he's going to have a nice season in 2016. I just think after his 1,000-yard season in 2013 he raised expectations, and he hasn't had that type of year since for one reason or another. I think that's probably why he hasn't been praised as much. Kendall welcomes the high expectations. I talked to him the other day, and he's motivated for this fall. As for Mariota, yeah, there were times he probably could've gotten the ball out quicker last season. But he'll have a better feel in Year 2, with experience.

Joel Rohm from Yuba City, CA

Question: Hey Jim, correct me if I'm wrong but it seems like coach Mularkey is playing favorites with a couple of players on the roster. Dexter McCluster seems like a great man, and a great teammate. But his play and been far from great. I think it would be a stretch to even call it good. I know Mularkey loves him but we all know there cannot be 6 RBs on the 53 man roster and I think that even Bishop Sankey has more upside. What are Dexter's chances of making the cut? And Harry Douglas. I feel exactly the same way about him as I do McCluster. What are the chances he makes it? I feel that PROVEN veteran free agent Anquan Boldin would bring a Super Bowl champion mentality to this roster that it does not currently have. And he would be an upgrade over Harry. Plus, you want to talk about "tough" and "team first" and "dependable"? Watch some tape on him and you'll find all of the above in spades. What are the chances Jon Robinson brings him into training camp for a look see? Thanks Jim for all you do and TITAN UP!

Jim: Hey Joel. Mularkey likes McCluster, no doubt. He made him a captain last year. Douglas is one of his guys from Atlanta, so obviously he had a past with him as well. But I can tell you Mularkey and Robinson and aren't going to keep guys on the roster because they "like" them or they're playing favorites. They're going to have to earn their spots. McCluster brings something different with his quickness, and his return ability. I think he's competing with Bishop Sankey for a spot. Douglas brings veteran leadership, but he's going to have to prove his value on the field as well. Right now, I think they both have a great chance to be on the roster. But we'll find out through competition over the next few months.

Willy Holiman from Memphis, TN

Question: What are your initial impressions of my man, Kalan Reed?

Jim: Hey Willy. I like him. Fine young man, and he's looked good so far. He's at a position where the team has a lot of numbers, though, so he's going to need to perform well in good camp.

Stephen Berrey from Wigan, England UK

Question: Hi Jim, As a Titans fan in the UK one of my goals is to one day visit Nashville, it seems like such a great city and I don't think I've ever seen anyone say a bad word about the place. Although there's numerous things I'd love to do in Nashville, No.1 on the list is obviously going to a Titans game at Nissan Stadium. Unfortunately that trip won't be happening soon though, but hopefully one day. As the Jags are playing more and more home games in London, has there been any talk of the Titans possibly coming over here to play a divisional game against them? And what do you think the chances are of it happening in the future? It would be great to be able to see the team play live. I really enjoy your coverage of the team and think you, Mike Keith and Amie Wells do a fantastic job. Really looking forward to the 2016 season, although cautiously optimistic, I think the team can turn a few heads this year.

Jim: Hey Stephen. Thanks for the email, and the kind words. I'll pass them along to Mike and Amie. A London game would be cool, but it's up to the NFL. Personally, I'd love to see it happen. So we'll see. Keep your fingers crossed. And you have to visit Nashville for a game week! It's a great, great city!

Justin Rogers from Durham, NC

Question: Hey Jim. Love what you're doing. Keep it up. I saw on NFL Network that some analysts think the Titans offense could be a top 10 offense. I BELIEVE! Last year the Titans defense was ranked pretty high, like top 5 for at least the first quarter of the season, until the injuries started piling up. Do you think with a healthy team that the Titans could have a top 10 offense and a top 10 defense?

Jim: Hey Justin. I definitely think the team has upgraded its talent. Better personnel on both sides of the ball. And the improvement on offense should help things on the defensive side of the ball, too. Keep the faith!

Bubba Perry from McKenzie, TN

Question: Hey Jim. Big fan, my question is two part. Do you think Sebastian Tretola will make first string and if so, does Marcus Mariota need to be worried about his QB position? Thanks a lot!

Jim:* Hey Bubba. Tretola is in the mix, and if he wins the job, it's going to be because he performed well and is ready. The team isn't going to throw him out there and pray Mariota can avoid getting hit by unblocked defenders. The injury to Byron Bell, who could play guard or tackle, puts Tretola on the clock even more in my mind. They really need a young guard to step up. We are talking Tretola on the o-line aren't we? If you're talking about him competing with Mariota at QB based on his TD pass at Arkansas, I like your sense of humor. :)

Mac McCarty from Jacksonville, FL

Question: Fan since 1978.  I had Eddie George dreams for Derrick Henry way before it happened.  My question, while a bit premature maybe - Can Henry ever fill the shoes of George with character, heart and passion for the game? We can only hope. . . Eddie has got to be 1st ballet HOF - we can only hope the same for Henry.  Thank you for all the columns over the years, Jim - HOF in my book. . .

Jim: Hey Mac. Thanks for the question. I was fortunate enough to cover Eddie George's career. He'll always be one of my favorites. Class act, and a true pro. The look on his face as he strolled the practice field on Fridays before big games is something I'll never forget. He was a tough, hard-nosed player. I like the look of Henry so far. While Eddie is a tough guy to be compared to, I'm sure Henry would love to get there.

Have a great Memorial Day weekend everyone!

Titans veterans and rookies take the field for Day 3 of OTAs at Saint Thomas Sports Park. (Photos: Gary Glenn)