Training camp is now three weeks old, and the season is rapidly approaching.
Glad to see the mail rolling in. Keep it coming while I dive into another batch…
Brian Moore from Soper, OK
Question: I've seen Jalston Fowler lined up in the slot and also running the ball. How much of either of these do you expect in the regular season?
Jim: Hey Brian. Fowler is going to make the team. He's a versatile guy who can help a number of ways, including on special teams early. But I think the Titans are going to have a hard time getting him a lot of carries early. The emergence of running back David Cobb should earn him some carries, and the Titans aren't going to give up on Bishop Sankey after a preseason game when the offensive line struggled. Antonio Andrews and Dexter McCluster will be in the mix, too, which doesn't leave a lot of carries for Fowler.
Brandon Thomas from Sandy, Utah
Question: Has Marqueston Huff shown enough in camp to justify a Michael Griffin trade?
Jim: Thanks for checking in Brandon. I like Huff, and the coaching staff does, too. He's a tough football player who takes his job seriously, and they need to find a way to get him on the field this fall. I can't see the Titans trading Griffin, though. He's a veteran with a lot of ability. The Titans hope he'll thrive under coach Dick LeBeau.
John Miller from Pompano Beach Florida
Question: Hi Jim. I was wondering if the Titans miss the playoffs, and go under .500 is Whiz fired?
Jim: Hey John. Man, coming strong, huh? Let's keep it real here. The Titans finished 2-14 last season. Not many teams or coaches are faced with a playoffs-or-bust situations after that. The Titans need to show improvement. With a rookie quarterback, I think some patience is going to be needed. Marcus Mariota has looked good in camp, but he's going to go through some growing pains, no doubt. And he's surrounded by youngsters who should be key performers for years to come. After losing nine games by two touchdowns or more last year, the Titans need to be more competitive. Whisenhunt is heading into just the second year of a five-year contract. Give the guy some time, especially with a young QB.
Scott Menard from Portland, Texas
Question: Hi Jim. Been a fan of this franchise since 1990. I read the Titans coaching staff have been moving around the line to see if they can form a more consistent unit than what we seen in Atlanta. Have they or will they give Josue Matias a shot at LG? He was graded as fourth round pick in this past draft but cause of injury issues went undrafted. He also won offensive MVP for his team in the senior bowl and am wondering if they have looked to him yet or is he not having a good camp?
Jim: Hey Scott. You're right – the Titans are juggling some things on the offensive line, looking at options. Right now, Matias isn't in serious competition for a starting job, but I'll tell you this – he's had a good camp and has made a favorable impression on folks inside the building. I see him sticking with the team this fall either on the roster or the practice squad. He's a guy worth keeping.
Russell Martin from Magnolia, Texas
Question: LONG TIME FAN FROM THE OILER DAYS HAVE STAYED WITH THE TITANS SINCE THEY LEFT HOUSTON MY QUESTION IS DO YOU THINK COACH LEBEAU CAN TURN THIS DEFENSE AROUND I STILL THINK WE ARE LAME WE HAVE NO ATTITUDE AND NO PLAYMAKERS WE NEED TO GET BACK TO TITAN FOOTBALL SMASHMOUTH IN YOUR FACE FOOTBALL.
Jim: I see you're setting a tone with the ALL CAPS. I hear ya. Coach Dick LeBeau has the respect of his players. And he has the knowledge to turn things around on defense. But guys are going to have to make plays for him. It's too early to get down on the D. Don't form an opinion based off the first series of the preseason. Linebackers Brian Orakpo and Derrick Morgan hardly played last Friday, and Jason McCourty didn't suit up. The Titans have a bunch of new faces on defense this fall. The unit should be better. If you're not satisfied after the first few weeks of the regular season, then hit me back then. But don't get all worked up and waste the ALL CAPS in the preseason.
Rich Bardon from Mesa, Arizona
Question: Rookie Kicker Mike Meyer is supposed to be pretty solid. Any way he beats out Ryan Succop? Thanks!
Jim: Hey, Rich. I have been impressed with Meyer, and he had a nice career at Iowa. But the Titans signed Succop to a three-year deal this offseason, and if all goes according to plan he'll be the kicker until then.
Jeremy Nance from Lebanon, Tennessee
Question: What happened to George Wilson?
Jim: His two-year contract with the team expired after last season, and he wasn't re-signed.
Tyler Weast from Virginia Beach, Virginia
Question: As Marcus Mariota progresses through camp do you think he has excelled well from transitioning from a wide spread offense at Oregon to an NFL offense and taking snaps from the center?
Jim: Hey Tyler. Mariota hasn't had any issues taking snaps from center in camp. He's been solid behind center. Also, keep in mind he's going to be working from the shotgun the majority of the time. A year ago, the Titans operated out of the gun 65 percent of the time and that number should be in the same ball park this fall.
Alan Ray from College Grove, Tennessee
Question: Hey Jim, You're doing a good job with all these questions. It seems as though you are more relaxed and a bit more playful in your responses lately. Good for you...and us. My question is actually a revelation thanks to you. I didn't realize that David Cobb was Mexican until I read in your Tuesday's "Ask Jim" that he played in the Senor Bowl. Adios, Alan.
Jim: OK, Alan. You got me here. Must've been a typo. While there may be no "i" in team, there is one in Senior, as in Senior Bowl. Cobb is from Killeen, Texas. Adios.
William Lopez from San Salvador, El Salvador
Question: Hola Jim! Saludos desde El Salvador creo que soy el unico fan de los titans de aqui. Pero te queria preguntar que si tu piensas que los novatos Jeremiah Poutasi, Green-Bechkam,Tre McBride y David Cobb podrian tener impacto en el equipo y cual seria? Gracias saludos desde El Salvador (El pais mas pequeño de america) :)
Jim: Hola William. Todos esos muchachos que mencionaste han mirado bien, especialmente Green-Beckham y Cobb.
Jim Gill from Rochester, MN
Question: Jim, Congrats on the new position! I've enjoyed reading your articles for many, many years. Seems odd the way Sammie Hill went on PUP then off PUP. My understanding of PUP was that it was set for the first six weeks of the season. Clearly, that was wrong. Can you explain?
Jim: From one Jim to another: It is a little confusing. Teams are allowed to put a player on Active/PUP at the start of camp, and once the player is medically cleared, he can join the team in practices. There's also a Reserve/PUP, but that's for the regular season, and with different rules. A player on the Active/PUP list moves to Reserve/PUP at the end of camp if he hasn't practiced with the team. If a player moves off Active/PUP list during camp and begins, he is ineligible for Reserve/PUP. Now once a player is moved to Reserve/PUP, he is automatically excluded from practicing or playing with the team for the first six weeks of the season. The benefit of putting a player on Reserve/PUP is he won't count against the 53-man roster limit, and teams will eventually have a window after Week 6 to begin seeing if the player will be able to help them that season, or be placed on season-ending IR. Bet you're sorry.
Casey Flynn from North Hollywood, Ca
Question: Hey, Jim, What's it like after all those years following the team to now be working for them? Have you gotten used to having an office at the facility now or seeing players and coaches 24/7? Thanks.
Jim: Hey Casey. It is a whole new world for me. I spent so much time at the facility even when I was at The Tennessean, that part isn't dramatically different for me. But having an office behind doors that used to be closed to me, that's pretty cool, I admit. Especially when one of those doors is the entrance to the cafeteria. While I was waiting in the food line the other day I told someone I might end up looking like an offensive lineman by the end of training camp. Unfortunately, Chance Warmack was behind me in line, and said "What's wrong with that?" And he wasn't smiling.