NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Hope you enjoyed your bye weekend.
Now, it's back to business – the Titans face the Cowboys on Monday night.
But first things first. It's time for the Tuesday mailbag.
Brice Eriksson from Andover, New Jersey
Question: Hey Jim, lifelong Titans fan here from New Jersey. Going to try and get out to the Giants-Titans game at Metlife in December. Brrr lol. My question for you is with the new addition in Jalston Fowler should we see or expect better games from Derrick Henry? Fowler did block for him at Bama and i believe two years in Nashville under Mularkey when the running game was very productive. I for one sure hope this gets Henry going. #TitanUp
Jim: Hey Brice. Well, I'm sure he'll help on some plays. But I'm thinking – and we'll have to see how this plays out – that Fowler will be used in some packages and on special teams. I just can't envision a bunch of plays with a fullback. He'll have a package of plays. So while Fowler should help on the plays he's in, if Henry's going to get going, it's going to depend largely on Henry, the offensive line, and really hinge on how games play out – whether the Titans are in the lead or playing catch up, etc…
Canaan Bricker from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Question: I am happy with Titans — could be better right now but we will bounce back in Dallas. I did have a few trade thoughts. Getting 2-3 guys DeSean Jackson, Jared Cook, and maybe a Raiders interior lineman. I think it gives a deep threat option with the veteran aspect. Some more help with a pass catching TE. Some nice depth in the interior since Raiders have a fire sale going on. We saw Jackson during joint practice so wasn't sure if you saw something different? .....Or we go all in for OBJ just my thought. With that being said I like the team and if we don't make a trade #Titansup!!!!
Jim: Hey Canaan. Oh man, you're wanting some serious trade action! I wouldn't count on that much activity. If you see something, it would probably be just one guy, and I don't even know if you can bank on that. If you're expecting OBJ, well, you're going to be disappointed. As they say in New York/New Jersey – Fuhgettaboutit! It's all up to the GM. But keep in mind the Titans have already traded away a sixth round pick in 2019 (in Kamalei Correa trade).
Len Cooke from Jacksonville, Florida
Question: Hi Jim. Looking at the 53-man roster brings 2 questions to mind. 1) Why do you waste a spot for a long snapper? Surely someone on the team can master that one thing without using a roster spot on it. 2) same for having a kicker and a punter. If your only job is to kick the ball, why aren't there kickers that can do all 3; kickoff, punt and field goal.
Jim: Oh man, Len, I hope Beau Brinkley doesn't see this because he'd be offended. Long snappers are under-appreciated, and most definitely needed. These guys fly under the radar until something goes wrong, and that's exactly what would happen if you had position players just trying out for the job. It's not a wasted spot, and Brinkley is one of the best in the NFL and you should be happy he's a Titan. As for Part 2, you want guys who can master each one. And the Titans have two really good ones in punter Brett Kern and kicker Ryan Succop.
Larry Hickman Hawkins, Texas
Question: Jim, I always read these articles, and at times have wanted to be one of the people who will use this venue to ask an absolutely absurd question, like (Vrabel getting fired" — seriously folks, he's 7 games in. After the shut-out from the Ravens, I was very nearly one of them. I appreciate all of the fans that Love this team, and I will abide the one's that believe we should win every game and be in every Super Bowl. I get the frustration. My question , my good Sir, is do you know if our team only watched film on the next team we are playing, or do they watch film on teams that are doing it right. I have studied the Rams and Pats blocking schemes, and the execution of their plays is truly flawless most times. I have played and I have watched, I just simply didn't know if at that level, they coached technique on the field, and watched tape on the next opponent or not. Anyhows, preciate the job you do, and I very much respect the responses you give. Hang in there folks, for this too, shall come to pass.
Jim: Hey Larry. I appreciate you taking the time. There are no dumb questions here. Every once in a while one will come close (like the answers), but they're all welcome! The coaches watch a ton of film, and pick up on things to implement. But coach Vrabel and his staff want things done their way, and want it executed correctly. I'm sure you've heard it referred to as a copy-cat league, which pretty much means there are no secrets. If it's working somewhere else and coaches think they can make certain things work here, whether it's a play or technique, I'm sure they'll try it (even if they won't admit it).
Anthony Belcher from Duck River, Tennessee
Question: I hear a lot about coaching trees. Would Mike Vrabel be considered part of the Bill Belichick tree?
Jim: This is an interesting question. I'm no arborist, but I say no. My thinking is coaching trees apply to those who've coached under other coaches. So while Vrabel played for Belichick, he'd actually fall under Bill O'Brien's tree, who course, is part of Belichick's coaching tree. So in some ways, I guess the answer is no and yes, and maybe. ... Looks like you went barking up the wrong tree… (Source: Dadjokes.com)
Darris Mays from Lewisville, Texas
Question: Hey Jim! I know it drives you crazy reading some of our email. My question is are the Titans trying to be the Patriots because it really look that way. Dion Lewis is not the answer, you have a 6 foot back and you can't use him. Matt LaFleur can't call plays to get him going that's not Derrick fault. I love the Titans and watch every game but if we don't add another weapon to our receiving group coming into Dallas next Monday night won't be easy, I know because Dallas is hard to beat at home. Dallas thinks their running game is going to beat the titans. I have a friend on the Cowboys staff and they don't think much of the Titans Offense or defense, but on any given night or day anything can happen.
Jim: Hey Darris. So, who is that friend on the Cowboys staff? :)
I'm not sure it's the right time to doubt Dion. I thought he looked great against the Chargers, and he's been the more effective back so far. That's why he's playing more. Hopefully the team can get Henry going. Dallas will be tough to beat, no doubt. And it's a big game for the Titans for sure.
Leila Albihani from Nashville, Tennessee
Question: Hello. My question is why have we not let Henry run the ball more? Which WR and TE are going to step it up? We should give the ball to Henry and Lewis more but I think Henry should run on the outside instead of straight up the middle. Both of our RBs our very fast. Let's come back strong and return to first place in our division. #TitanUp
Jim: Hey Leila. This has become the most popular question in the mailbag of late… At least the Henry question. For starters, the Titans have to keep themselves in running situations instead of 2ndand 3rd and long. And the team needs to get some leads where it can pound it. As for the receivers and tight ends, everyone needs to step up.
De'Angelo Richards from Virginia Beach, Virginia
Question: Hello Jim. I am the official Tennessee Titans representative of the state of Virginia- being I'm the only fan in the state it seems. Let's just say our fandom here is similar to an eclipse. Rarely see them, but it nice when you do. But I'll digress Jim. I'm writing to let the fans that are frustrated and almost done with this "same old, same old" team. Trust me I'm one of them myself- to not give up but to TitanUp! This bye week came at the best time for players, coaches, and fans to take a step back and see we have a great young team WE have. I mean really take a step back and evaluate what the small mistakes are and not only fix it, but get RID of it. This team could easily be sitting atop the division at 6-1. Sorry that ravens game was not only real, but a punch in the mouth. Reality check to fine tune some play calling and and situational football. We need to unleash Mariota and deploy all of his weapons in some space. Running ball with D. Hen north and south downhill-short yardage situations then using D. Lew on screen plays and bouncing it outside. In my opinion they have each back doing with the other should if you go back and look at the tape. Last trust that the receivers will beat their man and most importantly catch the ball. NO MORE FG IN THE REZONE. You have to score TDs in this league. We make it down there with no problems most time but kick 3 FGs before we see the end zone and by that time the game is out of hand.
Jim: Thanks for taking the time De'Angelo…
Chris Jones from Gilmer, Texas
Question: I have been a fan for over 50 years. I was really glad Vrabel had the spine to go for two. But who called that play? I'm old and don't have too many "next years" to wait for. This team is way too talented to lose like they do. Why can't they be consistent?
Jim: Hey Chris. Well, OC Matt LaFleur called the play, although Vrabel did say afterward he let LaFleur know he thought the team should throw the ball on the play. … Hang in there!
Robert Borror from Odenton, Maryland
Question: Jim, first time in here. I have a take on a trade that would make the Titans better instantly on all 3 phases of the game. I would be ALL IN for a Patrick Peterson trade. He locks down on opponent's best receiver every week, allows you to disguise coverages better and blitz more. Alternating with Adoree Jackson on punt returns would be huge. Allow Adoree Jackson to take 5-7 offensive plays a game. With his speed and the attention to him it would open things up for other players. One more on play calling - run more Wildcat. Imagine Henry, Lewis, Jackson, Taylor on the field together.
Jim: One vote for Patrick Peterson documented here…
John Penn from Huntsville, Alabama
Question: Hey Jim! So, do you think the team will finally consider signing Dez?...Just kidding, I figured I'd just get that out of the way for you this week. Anyways, can you tell me who the Titan's real "leaders" are? I know Mariota and Lewan are to some extent, but is there anyone in the locker room holding guys accountable when they drop passes or blow coverages? Like a Jason Witten or Ray Lewis type of guy. Thanks for your consistently great coverage of the team, and Titan Up!
Jim: Hey John. Appreciate it. I think the team has great leadership, starting with its captains. I've covered some teams in the past where it was tough recognizing which guys would be the best captains. Now, the team picks five (Wesley Woodyard, Jurrell Casey, Marcus Mariota, Delanie Walker, Daren Bates) and I can think of a bunch of others who would be qualified. I do feel like players are being held accountable. Everyone leads in a different way, too, as some are less vocal than others.
Johnathan Ellis from Lexington, Tennessee
Question: Are the Titans gonna make any trades before the deadline?
Jim: Well, this is the last day this question will make the mailbag in 2018. Today is the trading deadline. Only GM Jon Robinson knows. Stay tuned …
Have a great week everyone!
TitansOnline.com looks back at the all-time series against the Dallas Cowboys. (Photos: Donn Jones, AP)