Ask Jim: Questions on Season Outlook and More

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Christopher Plummer from Indianapolis, IN

Question: Jim, The coaches, players and fans are always excited and hopeful because it's a new season. However in saying that, I cannot help but feel like this team and practices have a new feel to them. I am sure that has a lot to do with Mariota and how well he is doing so far. You are there and have been for many years. What are your thoughts about this camp so far versus others?

Jim: Hey Christopher. This year's training camp definitely has a different feel to it. A lot of that has to do with Marcus Mariota, and the buzz he's brought to the city, and the team. The Titans once again have a face-of-the-franchise type player. It's evident by all the Mariota jerseys at practice as well, whether they're Titan blue or from his days at Oregon. Mariota has embraced it. But defensive coach Dick LeBeau has brought some excitement with him as well. The addition of players like veteran linebacker Brian Orakpo and rookie receiver Dorial Green-Beckham have helped, too. Fans are intrigued with this team. This kind of hype isn't usually found following a 2-14 season.


Javoby Covington from Reno, Nevada

Question: *Will David Cobb challenge Bishop Sankey for the starting running back position? *

Jim: Sankey has been the best running back at camp so far. He's looked more confident, and explosive. I still need to see more from Cobb. He looked really good in Saturday's practice at Nissan Stadium, but he's had some so-so practice sessions as well. The feeling is Cobb's a gamer who rises to the occasion in big moments. He did it in college, and he did it Senor Bowl week. At this point, though, I envision Sankey being the primary ball carrier, at least at the start of the season. And don't forget about Antonio Andrews. He continues to impress, and will likely earn some carries as well.


Jeremy McFarlin from Hurricane Mills, TN

Question: What's the biggest difference being on the inside of the Titans than being on the outside trying to get inside information?

Jim: That's a good question, Jeremy. On the outside, while covering the team for The Tennessean for 16 years, a big part of my job was to dig, and try to uncover things the team didn't necessarily want me to find out. It could be about injuries, roster moves and other closely-guarded behind-the-scenes stuff. Now with the team, I see and hear a lot more, although some of it I have to keep to myself. You wouldn't believe the big trade that's in the works anyway. (Just kidding).   


Cliff Blackard from Knoxville, Tennessee

Question: OK so I play fantasy football I play with my head not heart, but I am a huge Titans fan. Anyways if needing a late running back is Sankey or Cobb the guy getting the carries? Who is the number one RB?

Jim: See above. It's Sankey for now.


Matt Wyatt from Greensboro, NC

Question: *Everybody's been talking about the skilled players. But it's the O-line that wins games. How are they jelling? After last year's injuries they need to perform as a complete unit. *

Jim:Hey Matt. No doubt about it. The offensive line play has to improve this fall. Mariota's health, and the success of the running game, hinges on the play of the o-line. Left tackle Taylor Lewan has been impressive. Guard Andy Levitre has looked better in camp, and center Brian Schwenke and guard Chance Warmack have been solid as well. The big question is at right tackle, where veteran Byron Bell and rookie Jeremiah Poutasi are battling it out. It's wide open there right now. Once the Titans make a decision there, keep your fingers crossed. Injuries decimated this group a year ago, and the team can't afford to have a player like Lewan go down. See ya at the family reunion.


Patrick Dintino from Charlotte, NC

Question: Is there a battle for the second string tight end spot? Craig Stevens has been a great blocker in the past but has 48 career receptions (since 2008) while Anthony Fasano is a good blocker and had 48 total receptions the past two seasons. Who do you see winning the spot?

Jim:Delanie Walker will once again be the workhorse, and it won't be a shock if he leads the team in receptions this fall (even though my money's on Kendall Wright being that guy). Fasano has been impressive in camp, though, and he's going to catch a lot of passes. Stevens is going to be a big help in the run game, but his biggest contribution across the board will be as a blocker.


Jalene Bell from Kapolei, Hawaii

Question: Aloha Jim. My daughter, a 2015 UO Grad and I are coming from Hawaii to see the first Pre-season home game in Nashville, Aug 23rd. We are super excited to see the start of a new era...but I'm not sure I can talk her out of wearing a Duck shirt...lol. Anyway my questions are 1. If healthy, can we expect to see Marcus on the field with some volume of playing time? 2. Can we bring Lei into the stadium? #itsaHawaiiThing. Mahalo, Jalene.

Jim:Aloha Jalene. I'm expecting Mariota to play a series or two in the preseason opener against the Falcons on Friday, and in that preseason game against the Rams you'll be attending he'll probably play a quarter. It's on national TV. Did you know that? So yes, bring a Lei. The folks back home would love to see you.


Kevin Davis from Scranton, PA

Question:What's the vibe around camp (mainly from Marcus Mariota), knowing that week 1 matchup against #1 overall draft pick Jameis Winston?

Jim:I'll be honest: No one with the team right now is talking about the Week One matchup against the Bucs, and Winston. Believe me, when the calendar flips to next month, there will be plenty of buzz. But right now it's one game at a time in the building, even during the preseason. Tell Mike Munchak I said hello.


Sam Kim from Los Angeles, CA

Question: Just wanted your opinion. How do you see us doing against the AFC South opponents? I'm hoping to be 3-3.

Jim:Let's face it: The Titans have to change the ugly trend against the AFC South. Since the end of the 2008 season, the Titans have lost 12 of the last 13 to the Colts, including the past seven. The Texans have won five the last six in the series, and even the Jaguars have been trouble, holding their own against the Titans even when they've had bad teams. The Titans, of course, would love to go 6-0 against the AFC South. But after going 1-5 vs. the division last year, heck, 3-3 doesn't sound so bad if you ask me, which you did.  * *


Bud Judkins from Brentwood, TN

Question:*Can you tell us your thoughts on DT Angelo Blackson from Auburn?  Will he make the 53 man roster?  How is he performing in camp? *

*Jim: *Blackson, the team's fourth-round pick out of Auburn, has really come on of late. He's big, strong and athletic, and yes, he's making the team.


Dustin Roberts from Cookeville, TN

Question:Hey Jim. How much playing time do you expect Mariota to get in each of the preseason games?

Jim:I'm thinking the team will follow a plan similar to previous preseasons, regardless of the fact Mariota is a youngster who needs reps. Expect Mariota and the front-liners to play a series or two against the Falcons, and then roughly a quarter in preseason game No.2 against the Rams. In Week 3 at Kansas City, they'll probably play into the third quarter. In the season-finale against the Vikings, the starters probably won't play much.


Braulio Morris from Jasper,indiana

Question: Can Marriota sign my football on October 18th when I come down. I use to live in Salem, Oregon so I was his biggest fan. I hope to see us Titans win vs the Dolphins on October 18th. Sincerely, your biggest fan.

Jim:Hey Braulio. Hope you have a great trip to Nashville. I can't promise Marcus will sign your football, though. I know he's been good with the fans, and has gone out of his way to accommodate them at training camp. But game day is different. Maybe you'll get lucky. If so, don't be disappointed if he signs his last name with one "r."

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