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Ask Jim: Titans Set for Christmas Eve Clash





NASHVILLE, Tenn. to JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – It's hard to believe we're in Week 16.

And it's hard to believe it's almost Christmas.

Santa's not the only one sorting through mail these days. Did you think I'd risk the chance of ending up on the naughty list by blowing off the Titans mailbag? No way.

This is another airmail edition – banged this one out en route from Nashville to Jacksonville. Here we go…

Herman Bradley from Indianapolis, IN

Question: Thank you for allowing us to have some way to feel like we can connect to someone close to the team. There are a few things that I would like to get your thoughts on and maybe put a bug in the ear of the right people. First the upcoming 2017 draft. With 2 picks in the 1st round in how dynamic would the team be if they went with 2 WR? Just think of it like this if the team picked up in any combo M. Williams, J.Ross III, D.Westbrook, C.Davis and rotate Rishard Matthews & Tre McBride in the slot along with the backfield we have & Delanie Walker and Marcus Mariota's ability, this is a statistical match up nightmare for any defense in the league...... NO team would be able to stack the box, play zone or double up on any 1 man or put a spy on Marcus it will be a lot of 1 on 1 match ups that a team like would ABSOLUTELY Murder... I know we need HUGE help in our secondary but they can address this in free agency there will be Really Good YOUNG talent that can be added to the Roster or Trade back up and get Adoree' Jackson. I have seen him play for years and if we miss out on this guy it will be a HUGE mistake or Desmond King either one will totally change the Titans can't cover deep aspect TOTALLY.... Kevin Byard will lead the back end he just needs some cover help and LeShaun Sims is a Solid Nickle DB.... YOU will see.... The O-line will need a Guard when they release Chance Warmack... and another Solid D-Tackle to help out Jurrell Casey.... Just think about how Amazing this team can be with just theses few changes...... :-) Also New Uniforms would be amazing Mariota has that Nike Deal have them put some ideas on the table ........ Black @ Titans Blue would be Amazing as 1 option .... Thank you for your time and I hope this message sparks a conversation about the possibilities....

Jim: Hey Herman. Well, you've provided a whole lot of food for thought here. It's way too early for the draft speculation for me to be honest. I need to see the juniors who will be available, and I need to see the draft order as well. I have an opinion on positions of need, but will dive into that discussion after the season. As for Chance, his contract us up. Love your energy and broad thinking, but there's a whole lot TBD when the season ends. But it's a good conversation making for now…

DW Melton from Franklin, TN

Question: Are Chance Warmack, Karl Klug and others on IR with the team on the sidelines at home and/or on the road (injuries permitting)?  Are they required to be there?  And are they required to rehab with the Titans once their doc allows so long as they are under contract?  Are they routinely around the facility?  Thanks.

Jim: Good question DW. Some guys opt to have surgery in Nashville, and stick around. Those guys will go to games, and you'll sometimes see them on the sideline. Others decide to rehab elsewhere. I haven't seen Chance around. Klug's injury is so new, I haven't heard what he's doing yet but I kind of expect him to stick around.

Eric O from Denver, CO

Question: Hi JW. Man, it's been fun watching this team come together. Here's a question for you - In your opinion, what is the optimal run/pass ratio for this team?  Currently, the split is 48/52 (Only Dallas runs on a higher % of plays at roughly 50/50).  Interestingly, the Titans have become more run heavy over their last three games (55/45).  After watching Murray gash and Henry bash the Chiefs last week, I found myself wondering just how often the Titans should be running.  Is it crazy to think this team could effectively run the ball 60% of the time?  I believe it was Darrell Royal who stated "There are three things that can happen on a forward pass – and two of them are bad." 

Have I mentioned how much fun it is to be talking Titans games (v. draft/FA) in December?! Thanks, JW.

Jim: Hey Eric. Man, you're not kidding about the conversation. It seems like the upcoming draft was the biggest topic in November and December the past few years. I think 50-50 is pretty close to ideal for OC Terry Robiskie and HC Mike Mularkey. Those guys want to run it, but they also want to allow Marcus Mariota to make plays. Getting ahead early in games could swing the ratio more run heavy, though.

Michael Newsome from Drexel, NC

Question: Derrick Henry is averaging 7 carries a game, and he's got over 400 yards on the year.  If his averages play out over the last 2 weeks of the season, he will finish 112 carries for 504 yards on the season. That is barely 25% of the touches he got at Alabama last year.  So, with that being said, his body has to feel like he's been given the season off.  He's got to be feeling rested and fresh. If we get into the playoffs, do you see his carries per game going up?  Or would the Titans stick to their gameplan of a 5-7 touches a game for him? Because I have a feeling it would be the ultimate ace in the hole for the Titans to have a back that big, powerful, strong, elusive, and FRESH in the 2nd half of any playoff game.

Jim: Hey Michael. There's no doubt Henry – and the Titans – benefit from having him fresh late in the year. And I think he'll continue to get opportunities down the stretch. He looked good vs. Kansas City. But Pro Bowler DeMarco Murray, the AFC's leading rusher and second-leading rusher in the NFL, is going to continue to lead the way. I understand those wanting to see Henry, and I've been impressed myself. But Murray hardly deserves to see his workload decreased at this point. He's been good in the second half of games and he's an all-around back who catches the ball extremely well. I'll say this: When Henry gets going, I wouldn't be opposed to seeing the team riding him a little bit more in stretches. But this is a tough balance and I think it's been handled really well.

Anthony Palmieri from Wall, NJ

Question: After having been beat up by opposing TE's all year, I was surprised to see Travis Kelce slowed down for the first time in a few weeks. My question is who was responsible for that?

Jim: Hey Anthony. The defense did a nice job on Kelce, and several guys deserve credit. But the guy I noticed on him the most was rookie safety Kevin Byard. And he did a heck of a job.

Asa Fitzpatrick from Lutz, Florida

Question: Hey Jim! Asa Fitzpatrick here. Once again, thanks for all you do! I think I can speak for the rest of the Titans fans when I say that I enjoy reading all your articles. Here's my question... with back to back big wins against the Broncos and the Chiefs, the Titans then travel to Jacksonville to play the Jags, then come home to end the season in a hopefully BIG game against the Texans. This Jacksonville game on the 24th is sorta a trap game, right? Do you think the Titans will focus 100% on the week in head of them or do you think we will give into the temptation to go ahead of start focusing on the Texans a week ahead? I'm hoping for the first one! Maybe you can say something to my buddy Mike Mularkey for me? :) I know he probably knows it already, but it's a big game... even if their record doesn't show it! Also, I saw some pictures of you and Amie before kickoff last week! You guys looked COLD! Keep up the fantastic work!

Jim: Hey Asa. I appreciate the email. The Titans have focused on the Jaguars and only the Jaguars this week. Players know it won't be an easy game. The Jaguars have been in most games, and they've given the Titans a lot of trouble over the years. They have a top 10 defense. No one is taking them lightly, I can guarantee you that. As for K.C., I looked cold because I was cold! Man, it was freezing! Have a good one.

Reggie Walker from Macon GA

Question: Hey Jim! Titans Fan from GA here, land of the Falcons... Lol… After seeing how Coach Mularkey used DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry in the Chiefs game do u think that's how he will use them going forward?..It was nice to finally see the "Exotic Smashmouth" in action!..Keep up the good work Jim, and Thanks!..TITANUP!!

Jim: Hey Reggie. Appreciate the email. See my answer earlier to Michael. I think you'll see more of the same.

Carter Cheeseman from Nashville TN

Question: Hey Jim, I appreciate your response last week. This past Sunday I watched perhaps the most exciting game I'm the past five years of Titans football. I'm still hoarse from the yelling. I have never had greater belief in a group of guys or coaching staff to turn things around than I did at the beginning of this year with this team. Everyone was making fun of me for it, but now things are really looking bright. Anyway I love the way our defense is coming together these past few games and I think it will be pivotal to our success the next two games and maybe in the postseason as well. If Jason McCourty is out or limited how might that affect our rotation in the secondary. I like the effort I'm seeing out of Blake, and McCain, and I really like the development of Leshaun Sims. Would we keep a rotation going and perhaps see some Kalan Reed or will we see a switch to a one guy at all times at one side?

Thanks so much and TITAN UP!!!

Jim: Hey Carter. Appreciate it. Not sure if you've heard, but McCourty was ruled out. He didn't practice all week. You'll see the same rotation from previous weeks with Blake, McCain and Sims, and the good news is those guys have stepped up and played well. I've really been impressed with Sims in the past two weeks. But those guys will need to keep it up, and the Titans will need to keep the pressure on Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles.

Tim Cordeiro from Providence, RI

Question: Hey Jimbo. Wow, what a win vs the Chiefs!! Feels surreal to be this excited in December. And what a game my man Sims had in the secondary. He's looking like a potential star in the making. How does the team feel about the secondary of late? It was a big issue a few weeks ago but the young guys have really stepped up. Adding a true number 1 in the 1st round will put us in great position. What do you think? Titan Up!

Jim: Hey Tim. There's no doubt those guys have improved. There were a lot of questions when the coaching staff began rotating players in the secondary, but right now it's paying off. With McCourty out, inexperienced players aren't filling in. Blake, McCain and now Sims all have experience, and that's a big plus. Sure, rookie Kalan Reed is an injury away from some big snaps, but the primary three will be the guys I just mentioned. Sims has really shown me a lot since that Chicago game. Could the team potentially added a corner with one of the first-round picks? Sure, it's possibility. But that's something to worry about after the season. Appreciate the question.

Merry Christmas to all! looks back at the all-time series against the Jacksonville Jaguars.