Ask Jim: Titans Seek Tie of First Place Sunday

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Welcome to October.

And welcome to another edition of the Titans mailbag.

Let's get straight to it …

Shane McMurdo from San Diego, California

Question: Hi Jim, first question here in San Diego on board the USS Milius. Do you think Marcus Mariota has been getting too much hate from the fans? A lot of people are pulling the trigger saying he's a bust already. Personally, I disagree. He does have a turnover issue that he's working on. I just feel that he hasn't adjusted fully to the playbook and he really doesn't have the greatest receiving corps at his disposal. I would love to see the hurry up offense used more, to throw the defense off balance, rather than just the last two minutes of the game. What are your thoughts?

Jim: Hey Shane. I'm betting this is my first question from a destroyer! Just did a quick Google search and she's a beaut! Thanks for the question. I'm with you on this. I have heard the criticism, and I understand it. Marcus isn't happy with himself because of the turnovers. But for some folks to already be calling him a bust? C'mon man! Marcus hasn't even played a full season – Sunday will be his 16th career start. He's proven to be good in the clutch, and he's going to keep getting better. I do agree he has been effective in the hurry-up offense. He looks comfortable there. There's no doubt the team wants to run it, but Mariota has proven he can be effective in no-huddle, too, so we'll probably see some variety. Best to you.


Bryan Thomas from Pawleys Island, South Carolina

Question: What's up Jim? Hope all is well and continually appreciate your angle on the Titans very much. Here's a question I proposed on Twitter that I then realized would be better suited for "Ask Jim." Hypothetical: We are currently 3-0 having defeated the Vikings (who lost Teddy Bridgewater), defeated the Lions, and defeated the Raiders who have a 32nd ranked defense. Right now we are pretty much being looked down upon as being 1-2, but do you think we'd still be looked down upon having defeated those and being 3-0 or do you think they would give the Titans some of the respect we deserve? I know that it isn't how things are, but I'm just curious as to your thoughts on this. Also, do you think Kendall Wright will eventually regain his position as a #1 receiver on the Titans roster again? I mean I still don't get to this day how so many people are disrespecting Kendall after he's been proven to be a good receiver in the league. Then had to deal with Ken Whisenhunt who basically took away his ability to make the plays he did with Mike Munchak and one season with injury which unfortunately carried over to this year. Thanks in advance and #TitanUp

Jim: Hey Bryan. I understand where you're coming from. The NFL is a bottom line league. In your hypothetical, the Titans would be talked about as one of the league's most-improved teams if they were 3-0 right now. Since things didn't play out like that, the team is going to have to earn respect by winning. The same goes for Kendall. He'll tell you himself he's frustrated by injuries, and his lack of consistent production of late. He's several years removed from his 1,000-yard season. If he bounces back – he's expected to play Sunday – he has a chance to change the conversation. And so do the Titans.


Randy Howard from Kennett, Missouri

Question: Hey Jim! Thanks very much for all of the updates. I only live 3 hours from Nashville, but without cable I'm limited to getting my information on the internet.  So thank you for all of the updates! My question is regarding our secondary. We all know that the offense needs to make some improvements on ball security, but our secondary seems to be lacking that playmaker, like a Patrick Peterson or a Tyrann Mathieu. What are the chances of us making a big trade to get someone with that type of playmaking ability? Given the fact that we do have the ammo in next year's draft. Thank you for the response and here's to hoping for a momentum shifting game!

Jim: Hey Randy. Appreciate the question. With general manager Jon Robinson, you can never rule anything out. The guy has made five trades in his first year on the job. But you don't see a lot of in-season trades, and I really believe the team thinks it can win with its current personnel. Keep in mind the Titans have only give up two passing touchdowns in three games, and they've played against some pretty good offenses in Oakland (ranked 2nd) and Detroit (ranked 4th). 


R M from San Francisco, CA

Question: Hello Jim. Thank you for all you do.  It's appreciated throughout Titanville!

I don't have a question really, I actually have a statement(s) to the "fans" of this team. I'm pretty (ticked) this week.  And hate on me if you want to, obviously I don't live in TN so I really don't know the feeling around there but after this week it has to be said. I've heard a lot of "Fire Mularkey" and "Bench Mariota" online.  I've actually even seen "Trade Mariota for picks", "Mariota is a Bust". Marcus Mariota hasn't even played 16 games yet, this next game will be the 16th.  He's gone through 2 HC's, 2 OC's, etc.  What do these "fans" want?  He doesn't have enough weapons just yet.  The O-Line looks fixed, the RB's look great.  The WR's?  Just barely "OK".  Wright, yeah, I don't really believe in him, but is going to make this offense better.  Delanie Walker out for Raiders game was HUGE!  Win if he was in there, although Jace Amaro did a really good job. I see the "Fire Mularkey" thing going on.  WAKE UP PEOPLE!  Even with our record, it's been HIGH HOPES going on here, ALL THREE TEAMS were really good, better than the Titans I'm humbled to say.  We could easily be 3-0 but things happen and as young as the team is, really what did you expect?  The Super Bowl this year???  Patience, we'll be there in 2 more years and WIN one. The OC and HC really need to review what they have done through 25% (after this next game) of the season.  They need to eventually realize that Mariota should be set free to do what he does.  Take him out of that bubble wrap and let him play.  Mariota is so cautious that if you keep harping on him to PROTECT THE BALL, he's going to mess up.  He's already second-guessing himself on passes.  Did he do that last year? I'd say "NO".  This offense is smothering him.  He himself said he plays on instinct.  SET HIM FREE and enjoy the ride, for better or worse.  Fumbles, interceptions, whatever happens, at least it will be on him and not the play calls or conservative nature of this scheme.  I want an EXCITING EXOTIC SMASH-MOUTH Offense!!!  WE CAN SCORE 30 points a game and take pressure off our defense!!!  Just let the DUCK fly.  I know I'd rather see him do his thing and lose then have to wait until the 4th quarter for ANY sort of excitement from the offense.   These "true fans" though that talk %@#Q$ about their own QB, HC, and team really need to begin to appreciate what they have...The makings of a great football team that can win for years to come.  TITAN UP @%&!!! Thanks Jim.  Just venting...Have a great weekend.  Make it (G) rated is you use this, but I want the meaning to be heard.

Jim: Hey RM. I appreciate the passion! I'm just going to let your comment speak for itself, with just a few places amended to make it PG-13 at least! Hang in there &*$#@!


Julie Crenshaw from Newport Beach, Ca

Question: Hi Jim, I am sorry but for the last 3 weeks this offense has looked uncomfortable and worse than last year for 3 and half quarters. The run, run pass predictable play calling with trick plays is not getting it done and easily defended and it's obvious to the fans and I believe to the players. The only time they move the ball and score within minutes with efficiency and no timeouts is when Mariota is running his no huddle offense! Why doesn't the coaching staff use more of that and mix it in with the run from the beginning of the game? He cannot depend on their defense and only score 10 points and then expect Mariota to bail them out at the end every week! What changes do you think they will make to correct the offense and does Jon Robinson have a say in it as the GM? Thanks, Julie

Jim: Hey Julie! You've been pretty active on Twitter of late. I appreciate the feedback. I think RM might be talking about you. :)

I think you'll see a little more mix moving forward. The team wants to run the ball with success with two capable backs in DeMarco Murry and Derrick Henry, but it has a QB with some unique skills. It's a work in progress.


Antwon Ford from Columbia, SC

Question: Can we say the O-line is still a problem? I mean I don't know about anybody else, but it seems like when Mariota snaps the ball immediately the line collapses. … I believe if Mariota have time to throw the ball he could make better plays, more throws, more points on the board, etc. What's your point of view Jim?

Jim: Hey Antwon. We disagree on this one. The offensive line has been a lot better. Tackles Taylor Lewan and Jack Conklin have graded out especially well, and guard Quinton Spain has gotten high marks.  Ben Jones has been solid in the middle at center. Mariota has been sacked just six times in three games, and he was sacked 38 times in 12 games last year. Mariota has also been guilty of holding the ball too long on occasion. So the group has improved.


Hunter Phelan from Los Angeles, California

Question: Hey Jim. It's only been 3 games but I see a lot of improvement and great effort by the fellas.  Still 1-2 start and the offense glaringly needs more speed on the outside. Was wondering if there's any talks on possible trading one of our early pics for next year for a WR to maybe help us win now? You can tell this team is close but we're not there yet. I think Alshon Jeffery would be a great fit. I remember reading rumors during FA period that Titans were courting him. Don't know if there was any truth to that? See you in San Diego Week 6. We're 5th row right behind Titans sideline. Can't wait!!!!  I will give you a shout out. Congrats on Dodgers winning the division! They are crushing!!!

Jim: Hey Hunter. Thanks for the email. Looking at the team right now, I agree, more speed is needed on the outside. But I think that's a 2017 offseason upgrade. It's just hard to make a move in season, and I sure can't see a scenario where the team would part ways with a first-round pick. The 2017 NFL Draft and free agency will provide a lot of options. Give me a shout when you're in San Diego. I'll be roaming the sideline before the game. Hopefully I'll be able to call the Dodgers World Series champs when I see ya!


Jimmy Clements from Chesapeake, Virginia

Question: Hi Jim, as always thank you for the great coverage of the Titans. I only have one question and a moment. My question is simply why can't the Titans win at home? I thought by now we would be winning at home. Now for my comment: I am tired of hearing about ball control (or in our case the lack of ball control) everyone knows we can do a better job of it. Now it is time to quit talking and start doing. Yes the Taylor Lewan penalty certainly hurt us on Sunday but 3 turnovers killed us. Thank you for letting me rant. Oh yes must of been the Nissan Stadium curse. Whatever it was it is now time to put up or shut up quit turning the ball over and start protecting your house.

Jim: Hey Jimmy. I hear ya! Wish I knew the solution for the home woes, and so does everyone else around the team. I remember the days when the Titans used to win at home every week. Coach Mike Mularkey would like for those days to return.


Mike Temple from Birmingham, AL

Question: Hi Jim.  The Titans seem to be a better team this year, but we just can't seem to win a home game.  (Are we approaching 2 years now?)  With Green Bay, Denver, Cleveland and the AFC south left, do you think the Titans can finally win a home game for the fans this year?

Jim: Hey Mike. Jimmy was just asking the same thing. I know it's frustrating for fan who want to leave the stadium with a smile. It's been a struggle, I'm well aware. The team finished just 1-7 at home last year, the lone win on Dec. 6 against the Jaguars. After back-to-back road games in Houston and Miami, the team will play three straight at home vs Cleveland, Indianapolis and Jacksonville. It's a big stretch!

Have a great weekend everyone! I have a big decision to make tonight in Houston: Pappadeauxs or Pappasito's?

TitansOnline.com looks back at the all-time series against the Houston Texans. (AP Photos, Donn Jones)