The preseason is winding down, but the mail is piling up. Thanks for the questions. Some answers here to welcome you back to the office on a Monday...
Julie Crenshaw from Newport Beach, Ca
Question: Hi Jim. Why would Coach Whisenhunt not play Marcus Mariota for the final preseason game? Isn't that the game teams play their starters the longest to get ready for the regular season? I would think not playing the final preseason game may put him a little out of sync with his offense and WRs.
Jim: Hey Julie. Whisenhunt didn't say he's going to hold Mariota out for sure. He's just not willing to commit to it yet. If you ask me, I wouldn't play Mariota against the Vikings. Taking 8-10 snaps in the final preseason game hardly seems critical to me. There's more risk than reward. Teams have altered their approach to preseason game No.4 around the NFL. It's the game when the starters usually play the least. So even if Mariota plays, he won't play long. The Titans like what they've seen from him so far, and he can continue to get in sync with his receivers in practices.
Rodney P. from Woodbridge, NJ
Question: Hey Jim, long time Titan fan in Jersey since the Steve McNair days. 3 quick questions...I can't understand why Justin Hunter does so well in practice but in games he disappears. Is quarterback play a big reason for that? Haven't heard about Hakeem Nicks lately -- How's he been? Whom do u feel Mariota favors most as a target?
Jim: Thanks for the questions. That's the big question surrounding Hunter. Coaches want him to be more consistent in practices and on the field. A year ago he also looked like a beast in training camp, but he didn't make a huge impact when the season started. Hunter has looked good in practices this year as well, but he definitely looked a little shaky going after some of those balls against the Chiefs. You can't blame the quarterback for that – he has to be more aggressive going after the football. As for Nicks, he's had his moments. He's a veteran, so he knows what to do. Mariota's favorite target seems to be Kendall Wright.
Stephen Vanasse from Dayville, CT
Question: Do you think that David Cobb has a chance of starting over Bishop Sankey?
Jim: No. Sankey was ahead of Cobb even before he suffered a calf injury in practice last week. Now Cobb's going to fall behind and be forced to play catch up. Aside from Sankey, the Titans like what they've seen from Antonio Andrews and Dexter McCluster, so that's some good news for the backfield.
Lee Meeks from Union City, TN
Question: Do you think Tre McBride will make the team? There is a lot of competition at WR, however, I really think he could help in the return game.
Jim: Hey Lee. McBride is a good prospect. The problem is, as you mentioned, the Titans have numbers there. McCluster is the team's punt returner, so the returner job left to be had is at kick returner. And teams rarely get a chance to return kicks because of all the touchbacks. If McBride's going to make it, it's going to be because he has a chance to help the team in other areas as well.
Jeff Janney from Charleston, SC
Question: I read a mailbag question regarding uniforms. I'm kind of tired of seeing the team in uniforms from 1999. What are the odds they get a re-design any time soon? While we are speaking of changes, any chance they get a new mascot/logo. I get the idea of the colors/logo/mascot being centered around the state of Tennessee when they first moves there, so they could get people on board, but I think it's time for a change. A raccoon is the mascot for the Titans.
Jim: I hear ya, Jeff. But get used to the navy blue uniforms from '99. The Titans will be wearing them in half their games this season, and to tell you the truth, I hear mostly positive feedback from fans. As far as a new logo, I've always been a fan of the secondary logo with the sword myself, but I don't think the flame is going anywhere any time soon. Lastly, I haven't heard anything about making T-Rac road kill either. Take pride in having a raccoon as a mascot. I've seen worse. By the way, Wikipedia says raccoons are "hyper sensitive" so be nice.
Tyler Beene from Knoxville, TN
Question: Hello Jim. The O-line shuffling lately has got me wondering if Andy Levitre's days in Tennessee are in danger. He hasn't been the guy we thought he was in Buffalo. I like Andy, I think he's a great player, but will he make the final 53?
Jim: Hey Tyler. The final call on this one will be made by folks with much more authority than myself. But I'll say this – if Levitre's not a starter, I can't see a scenario where he's on the team at his current salary. He's being paid as a starter, not a backup. We'll have an answer here in the very near future.
Kay Woods from Carthage, TN
Question: My mom loves the Steelers and she was wondering why they aren't playing the Titans this year?
Jim: Hello Kay. The NFL uses a scheduling formula that rotates opponents – and conferences – on each team's schedule. Outside their AFC South opponents, the Titans are scheduled to play AFC East and NFC South opponents this season, in addition to one AFC West team at home (Oakland) and an AFC North team on the road (Cleveland) based on 2014 finishes. Based on the current formula, the Steelers could play at Nissan Stadium in 2016 if they finish in the same position in the AFC North as the Titans do in the AFC South. In the meantime, tell your mom to bring a Terrible Towel to Nissan Stadium this year to root on Dick LeBeau!
Renee Bissmeyer from Houston, Texas
Question: Hi Jim…. We have been watching Phillip Supernaw since his days with the Texans, and we are wondering how he's doing up there.* *What do you think the probability is of the Titans keeping 4 Tight Ends on the roster?
Jim: Good day, Renee. Phillip's had a great camp. He's done everything possible to give himself a chance to make the team. Because of the injuries the Titans dealt with at tight end last year, I think they'll keep four. Delanie Walker, Anthony Fasano and Craig Stevens are three, so it's a decision between Chase Coffman and Supernaw. Both players have been solid in the preseason, so the player who gets let go should have a great chance of landing on his feet on another team.
Casey Reddy from Cincinnati, OH
Question: Who do you think will lead the Titans in tackles for the season? Avery Williamson? Zach Brown?
Jim:Hey Casey. Avery Williamson was good as a rookie, and he should be even better this fall in his second season. I'm thinking Williamson leads the team in tackles. He had 107 a year ago and didn't become a starter until the fifth game.