Ask Jim: Questions on O-Line, Mettenberger and More





Two preseason games are in the books, and two more remain before the regular season.

It's getting close to crunch time. But right now, it's mail time.

Let's do this…

Wes Marsh from Dayton, Ohio

Question: Hey there, Jim. It seems like the last two years Justin Hunter started out a little shaky, but by the end of camp he really started to come on, be more consistent, and make big plays.  It sounds like he's been on a very similar progression this year. We all know how the last two regular seasons turned out, but I'm he MORE consistent and making more big plays compared to the last couple of camps?  Is there anything that says this year might be different?

Jim:Hey Wes. I just think his confidence is up, along with his weight. Hunter is 10-12 pounds heavier than he was at the end of last season, and it should make him sturdier going across the middle of the field, and in battles for the football with defenders. Hunter had a good camp. What he needs to do Is show consistency, and when adversity hits, he has to rise above. No one will know if he's turned that corner until he gets there.

Jack Watts from Austin, Texas

Question: Jim-1st of all I was an advocate of drafting Marcus Mariota. I see this team with the 1st QBs on the squad as potentially as one of the best set of young QBs in the league. Surely there are teams salivating at Zach Mettenberger. If Mariota turns out as expected, do you believe the Titans will trade Mett to receive more value than waiting until his 4th year? Or will they just keep him for his tenure for insurance?

Jim: Let 'em salivate. I wouldn't trade Mettenberger. After last year's streak of injuries at the quarterback position, the decision makers aren't interested in moving him either. Quarterback is the most important position in football, so teams should do everything possible to have security there. As far as what happens down the road, it's hard to say, but right now the Titans aren't looking to move Mettenberger.

Joey Harvey from San Antonio, TX

Question: Hey Jim. The Titans drafted Jalston Fowler as a flexible FB/TE threat out of the backfield, and they also liked his pass-catching abilities. But so far, I haven't seen much from him in the preseason besides blocking. How and when should we expect to see more from Fowler with the ball in his hands?

Jim: Hey Joey. You'll have to trust me on this one, but Fowler has good hands. I know the Titans haven't put him in a position to prove it in games, but he's done it in practice. And Alabama fans will tell you he did it plenty in games. Fowler should get plenty of opportunities down the stretch, so maybe you'll see it then.

Richard Swor from Nashville, TN

Question: I feel like the focus has been on how solid our D-Line has looked, but I really like our linebacker group and I feel like it could end up being the star group of the defense by the end of the season. Barring any injuries, who do you think will have the strongest year of that starting group: Williamson, Brown, Morgan or Orakpo?

Jim: It is a solid group. My bet is Williamson leads the team in tackles, but Orakpo makes more game-changing plays. Orakpo just has a gear I haven't seen on the team in a while. He's quick off the edge, and should be able to corral some quarterbacks. The Titans have to stay healthy here, though. Brown went down in the opener last year, and Orakpo was sidelined for the year after being injured in October.

Sean Wright from Outer Banks, NC

Question: With the recent tweets about Zach Mettenberger from Louis Riddick and Jaws raising eyebrows, mine included, who is the Titans starter at QB if all things were equal?

Jim: "If all things were equal?" I'm not sure what the heck that means. Mariota is the starter, and Mettenberger is the back-up.  It's that simple.

*Matt Braz from Sussex *

Question: Do you think the #2 CB is still an issue? If not who has impressed you so far this camp?

Jim: It's an issue for the time being, with Jason McCourty sidelined following groin surgery. Perrish Cox is the starter on one side, and Coty Sensabaugh is going to play. And he's had a good camp. The Titans expect Blidi Wreh-Wilson to be back on the field in the near future after missing time with an ankle injury. All those guys have experience.  Cody Riggs is also in the mix. The Titans are going to miss McCourty while he's recovering, but they have some guys capable. Plenty hinges on the pass rush as well. The quicker the pass rush gets there, the less time corners will have to cover.

Forrest Galloway from Memphis, TN

Question: With the recent offensive line shuffling, has Jeremiah Poutasi been getting any looks at guard? Some draft analysts thought he might be a better fit at guard than tackle.

Jim: Hey Forrest. You're right, some had Poutasi projected as a guard. But he's been a tackle with the Titans, and with the way things are shaping up, he could very well be the starter at right tackle to kick off the season.

Daryl Roberts from Newport News, Virginia

Question: Does our team plan on having another alternate team uniform such as an all red uniform or just new uniforms in general in the near future?

Jim: Right now it's navy blue as the primary home uniform, and white as the primary road uniform. The alternate, or third jersey, is the light blue. Red is not in the mix. Still.

Jeremy Chalfant from Nashville TN

Question: I watched an interview that said Andy Levitre was in all the right spots. Maybe he was but Levitre is a boy among men and he is simply getting outmuscled on all those blocks he was in the "right spot" for. He just doesn't have the size or strength to be a LG right now. He looks small. I can tell his work ethic is lacking. He was better 4 years ago with the Bills than he is today. Am I the only one who sees this? Ask whiz for me.

Jim: You're hardly the only one who has been critical of Levitre, so there's no need to pass a secret note to Ken Whisenhunt. And say what you want about Levitre, but his work ethic isn't the problem. Crazy how you'd come to that conclusion without being around him. Levitre's problem has been with his technique, and getting overpowered by bigger, stronger defensive linemen. But that has nothing to do with his work ethic.

Michael Byrd from Waynesboro, TN

Question: Jim, It seems like last night's o-line shuffle might work out.  The bigger Bell seemed to hold up well at guard and Poutasi looked good at RT.  Your thoughts?

Jim: Hey Michael. It's tough to make a decision based on a quarter in a preseason game, but I will admit the offensive line looked sturdier, and better, on Sunday night. The unit will get an extended look on Friday night in Kansas City. If all goes well there, the starting five could very well include Bell at LG and Poutasi at RT.


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