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Ask Jim: Tuesday Morning Titans Mailbag


NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- It's time for the Tuesday mailbag, and we're not going to ignore what happened on Sunday in here, mainly because you guys won't let me. :)

But that's OK. The 21-0 loss to the Ravens was ugly, and no one is trying to sugarcoat it.

Still, the Titans are tied atop the AFC South with 10 games to go.

At the start of London week, let's get in this Titans mailbag.

Put on the helmet and buckle those chin straps …

Jeb Price from Milton, Tennessee

Question: How is it professionals who get paid extravagant salaries can put in the performance the Titans did today and still have jobs? I don't know of another profession that would or does tolerate such financial nonsense. Instead of ridiculous salaries compared to the folks in the stands who pay to see these guys deliver, why not start every player with a basic salary and offer incentives and bonuses for jobs well done? Betcha attitudes and outcomes would change. A disheartened fan.

Jim: Hey Jeb. It was a bad day at the office, there's no getting around it. And it's been a bad two weeks. But it's a long season, and no one is ready to throw in the towel. The key is to fix the mistakes, and keep what happened on Sunday from happening again. And I don't think attitude or effort was the problem. The team just flat out got beat. As for the basic salary plan, I'm pretty sure the NFL Players Association wouldn't go for that idea.

Kenny Ospital from Roy, Utah

Question: Will there be changes after this embarrassing blowout? Can we cut bait with Matt LaFleur, Taylor Lewan or both? Ive been a Titan fan for almost thirty years now, this might be the most pathetic performance I have ever seen from them and that is saying a lot. There has to be some accountability for allowing 11 sacks right? By accountability, I mean some people potentially losing their job. Was it Mariota not reading the defense pre snap? Was it a poor performance from the offensive line? Was it bad play calling? Were they mostly coverage sacks? I'm sure it's a combination of all four, but from your perspective who is mostly to blame? People wonder why Titans fans are not enthusiastic about supporting the team, look no further than this performance. Please tell Amy Adams Strunk to hold some people accountable, there is no excuse for allowing 11 sacks. I think I'm done watching the Titans for the year, they're not going anywhere with this roster. Thanks for your insight, I'll be looking towards the draft. Hopefully JRob is scouting offensive linemen and coordinators. The Titans are in need of both.

Jim: Hey Kenny. The OC has been on the job for six games. Everyone knew there would be some growing pains, and yes, Sunday was painful to watch. If you expected the offense to look like it did against the Eagles every week, well, that was an unrealistic expectation. Guys are going to have to play better, and coach Mike Vrabel has never steered clear of his approach the staff needs to coach better. As for Lewan, you do realize those 11 sacks weren't all on him, right? Most the issues came inside. You are right in that it was a combination of a lot of things. I think you know the team is not cutting bait with either of those guys. Again, no one is denying Sunday's performance was terrible. I've been to every game at Nissan Stadium, and it's one of the worst I've ever seen. As for your questions on what went wrong, let's just conclude nothing really went right.

Paul Newton from Santa Fe, New Mexico

Question: Jim, love what you do. I'm just tired at this point. Malcolm Butler is an expensive liability. Offensive play calling is bad. No one else will say this, but I think the Mariota project is over. Should we draft a QB in the first round and also replace LaFleur? I've never written before, but I just needed to voice my frustrations. #Titanup

Jim: Hey Paul. Thanks for venting here. Butler needs to get better. He's said it, and Vrabel said on Monday the team needs to coach him better from a technique standpoint. And let's tell it like it is here: You're not the only one questioning the QB. I'm not saying I agree with it, but I also haven't been in hibernation. I get plenty of questions in here, and on Twitter. But I'm not endorsing drafting a QB at this point, not after what I saw from Mariota against the Eagles, and in other games. I still think he's a franchise QB. He's had to deal with a lot of coaching changes over the years, and the offense this year is brand-new to him. He's also working with a young receiving corps. Heck, he hardly had time to work on Sunday. I'm in the camp that still believes in him, and want to see more.

Ed Reynolds from Quartzsite, Arizona

Question: Garbage Garbage Garbage. That is this offense and its play caller. How many touches did Derrick Henry have? They looked like a high school team getting schooled. I know you keep telling the fans to be patient, but let's face facts. GARBAGE. Thanks for the vent.

Jim: Henry had seven carries for 21 yards, and one catch for five yards. So that's eight touches. Hope you feel better.

Eli Decko from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Question: Hi Jim. You've answered me a few times and I hope you can tell I'm a diehard fan of our boys in blue. With that being said, what the heck is going on with our play calling? I saw some fans hating on Mularkey this weekend in your Saturday Mailbag, but they NEVER looked as flat as this Ravens game. Absolutely no adjustments. Defense was put in disgusting positions as well as Marcus, who should be begging for the Titans to make a trade to help him out. McNair used to get hit a ton, but I never remember a beating like this. Rain and weather is such a weak excuse. What is going on in Nashville that we have literally beat ourselves these past 2 weeks so badly?We need to bench Butler straight up. Adoree should never be off their #1 receiver and Butler should never again be allowed to play the perimeter. I'd love your take on this come Tuesday when I check the mailbag section of Titans online. Thanks again and keep doing us fans an excellent service.

Jim: Hey Eli. The team just got manhandled against the Ravens. It can't happen again, or it's going to be a long season. The Titans have to protect Mariota better, no doubt, and he's going to have to do a better job of getting rid of the football. He's said it himself, and so did his head coach. Butler has given up some plays, there's no denying it. But I don't agree with benching him. And Adoree' has been mostly solid in my mind. You're right on in team beating itself against Buffalo, but on Sunday the Titans just flat out got beat.

Patrick Bruga from Petaluma, California

Question: Hi Jim. I am cursed with loving this team because of Earl Campbell and my undying loyalty. I am excited about the current talent and our future. However, as you know, it's been a long road. Lots of fun and excitement as well as heartbreak. Question(s): Why is Derrick Henry not the centerpiece of our offense? Does anyone know that he is the leading all time rusher for one of the most successful college football teams of all time? Have we forgotten about his domination of the Chiefs last year? Don't we have one of the best B gaps to run through? Even our back up OLs are awesome. How about pitching it to Derrick or even handing off from the shotgun single back and letting him run outside? Once he gets a full head of steam, no one can make the first tackle due to his amazing stiff-arm. I love watching him throw DBs to the ground! We could also have one of the best screen games in football. POUND IT!!!!! Thanks Jim.

Jim: Hey Patrick. I think you have to consider a number of factors as it relates to Derrick Henry. For starters, the team needs to get some leads so he can be used to pound away. Unfortunately, that hasn't happened. I must also say he needs to perform better when he gets the chance. I'm not saying anything he hasn't said himself here. He's called his own play "trash," but Ed from Arizona would probably use the word garbage. He seems to prefer that description. Henry is capable, and he's shown it. I'm not going to say it's all on him either. He needs some room to run. Hopefully the team can get things fixed ASAP.

Gary Massey from Taft, California

Question: Howdy Jim. I know it's gotta be frustrating dealing with all the negative fan rabble after a loss but you handle it gracefully. Win or lose the Titans have a fan here. Seems band wagons are popular these days. So to my question... Has Mariota got the boys to try some famous Hawaiian spam dishes? Just went to Hawaii & tried some myself & I have to say some are delicious.

Jim: Hey Gary! Man, you've stepped in at a good time! I have to admit, I'm not sure if Marcus has encouraged guys to try SPAM in the locker room. But I did follow him around Radio Row at the Super Bowl this past year, and he was pushing SPAM. Said it's delicious. I need to check it out myself.

Gustavo Espinho from Rio de Janeiro

Question: Good Morning Jim. Greetings from Brasil. I'd to ask you about our OL. Seems they are struggling to support this new La Fleur Offensive Scheme. What's your opinion about such a change from year to year? They were our safe harbor in 2017. Now, it seems they became a big issue. Should be the difficult of adapting to this new offensive filosofy (this OL was originally formed to support a power-run scheme, the so-called exotic smashmouth...), based mainly on aerial threats? Do you think that this OL roster can handle this filosofy change throughout this season ter? Thank vou. Regras. Gustavo Espinho.

Jim: Hey Gustavo. Welcome in from Rio! The o-line has struggled. I never thought I'd see an 11-sack game. I think communication and just not great technique contributed to the problems on Sunday. Some guys just got beat up front. Leading up to the Baltimore game, I think all the different lineup changes contributed to a lack of consistency. There's no excuse for what happened vs the Ravens. I think it's still a work in progress. And it needs to improve. I do think it time things will improve. I can't help but wonder if the change in scheme and what's being asked of them has contributed to some unsteady play as well.

David Church from Maryville, Tennessee

Question: Hey, Jim. Thanks so much for your work keeping all of us up to date on the team. I read your columns every week, but I've never written, but I have to get this off my chest or I'll blow up. This weekend I spent the second half of the game cleaning my garage. It's the first Titans game ever that I've not watched to the end. I've been a Titans fan since the beginning, and it's getting so hard to watch. This team can build expectation like crazy yet always seems to deliver the same product. I went back to the year 2000, and we've spent 3 first round picks on quarterbacks. We've had 4 different head coaches. The league has changed to favor the offense. And yet we have hovered around 5,000 yards/season with a max of 5,600. In 2011 Drew Brees had more passing yards than our team had total yards! This offense is so vanilla. I just don't understand, why we can't move the ball. I don't understand why we are so boring to watch. I don't understand why our games don't look like NFL games compared to the others that I watch. I know the guys are working, but when other teams are able to fix their problems and become powerhouses in the NFL it frustrates me. Even the Browns are more entertaining than we are. After almost 2 decades of this I'm beginning to think it's not going to change.

Jim: Hey David. I know you don't want to hear it but as I mentioned before, I fully expected there to be some growing pains in the new offense. LaFleur wears a rubber "EMBRACE THE SUCK" bracelet which dates back to a meeting with the Navy Seals while in Atlanta, but applies to what he was taking on in Tennessee. Obviously he wants things to look like they did against Philly every week, but it's a work in progress. "Not every situation is going to be great," LaFleur said in an appearance with Midday180 on 104.5-FM before the season. "There is going to be some adversity, some bumps in the road and you've got to stay the course, you've got to keep fighting and grinding and scratching and clawing ad try to be as positive as you can on a daily basis. I think that speaks to what the NFL is all about, because you know any given Sunday a team can show up and take it to the other team. You've got to be resilient, you've got to stay positive and just keep grinding a way." I think that applies to Sunday. In time, I think it will change for the better. On the bright side, hey, at least you have a clean garage…

Sheldon Kahan from Nashville, Tennessee

Question: What happened? Where was the offensive line? Where was the defensive line? The receivers? The secondary? Was it because so many of the starters are injured? Was it because we throw the ball to a spot rather than to a receiver? The answers are above my pay grade and no doubt the coaches and players will address the underlying issues. But what I do know is that any football player in the NFL is something special or else they wouldn't be in the NFL. They dream of this from childhood and dedicate their lives in pursuit of excellence in the sport. They work long hard hours, study the game, practice relentlessly and risk injury. They are paid well and all deserve some respect. When I was young my brother teased me relentlessly. Often times I was brought to tears and eventually started to stutter. It wasn't until I could overpower him physically that he stopped teasing me to my face. To this day it bothers me to see people making fun of each other. When a football player makes a good play and then starts to shake his booty, wag his finger, stick his tongue out, blow raspberries and basically act like a chimpanzee I get offended. It bothers me. If I want to watch a dancing bear I can go to the circus. I saw a clip of Mike Vrable telling the team, "When you lose say little. When you win, say less". Words to live by. All these players deserve some respect. Those sorts of antics are unsportsmanlike and those who act like that should be penalized. It demeans the game. I'll get off my soap box now and wish the team a full recovery in England. Go Titans.

Jim: Hey Sheldon. Man, my head is spinning with all these questions. Thanks for taking the time, and for sharing your personal story.

Greg Moore from Nashville, Tennessee

Question: Please disregard my comment on Titan fans not getting any respect. We just drove our usual 125 miles from Jackson, sat out in the rain, and watched the worst beatdown in team history. Our reward was the drive home in the rain, which included a one hour to go 3 miles stretch due to a wreck. Team is pitiful. On the bright side it looks like 8-8 will win the division.

Jim: Hey Greg. Glad you made it back safely. For the record, that wasn't the worst beat down in team history. Was it ugly? Yes. But I was in Foxborough for the 59-0 loss to the Patriots and it could've easily been 95-0 that day. And while no one is shooting for 8-8, I think everyone would take a division title and trip to the playoffs right now. At least I would.

Josh Christensen from Chandler, Arizona

Question: I've been a titans fan since 2000 and I have seen a lot of QBs come through the franchise. Watching Titans football is a very emotional ride. My question is (and I'm asking this through the eyes of a franchise owner): Is Mariota the future of the franchise ? As talented as he is he has regressed every year since joining the league. I feel as if Jon Robinson and company has improved this team in all aspects of the ball but when it all comes down to it Mariota is at the center of it all. Do you still see the franchise drafting a qb next year?

Jim: Hey Josh. I answered this questions for Paul earlier. I still believe he is, but he's going to have to prove it while things get better around him. Time will tell.

Wesley White from Bozeman, Montana

Question: Hi Jim. Thanks for the great insight and answers you provide every week for all of us Titans fans in the country. Im a Montana resident, but a 20 yr Titans fan. Good and bad. I just have one question that has been burning in my mind for three years now. Why... is... Derrick Henry ...not given the ball 20+ times a game?!! Why is the offense not built around his running ability?? Even with the "exotic BS"" running game he was a secondary player. He hasn't been given a chance to carry the team. We keep leaving it in the hands of a very fragile and inconsistent QB. I see him being very similar in style to Eddie George and if given enough playing time to develop the confidence he could easily take us back to dance like Eddie did. Let the kid play!! Agree or no?

Jim: Hey Wesley. Well, he's going to have to earn his carries, and the Titans are going to have to get in games where they can feed him the football. Is he capable? Again, he's had his moments. But the whole offense is going to need to improve for him to get chances.

Hunter Phelan from South Pasadena, California

Question: Hi JIM, two weeks ago I felt like my beloved Titans had arrived and couldn't wait for the 4-1 Titans vs my personal nemesis the Baltimore Ravens. Then Buffalo happened, and then yesterday. Most frustrating game to watch since the 59-0 loss to the Patriots, that's including our 2-14 and 3-13 seasons. I imagine you're getting some pretty negative ASK JIMS today. I want to chalk it up to a bad day at the office. It's a week to week league, so maybe we hang 50 points vs San Diego so who know?. I was in such a bad mood yesterday I felt like we wouldn't win another game for rest of the year. Please send team message: get back the physicality we built the last couple years. We let go of Demarco Murray to give Derrick Henry the load. Tell Derrick I said he's running to straight up. Lower his shoulder and hit someone. I don't care if it's a two-yard loss. We need to instill some physicality and it starts with run game. Please let coached know i said give henry the ball 25 times, even if he rushes for minus 50 yards. Right now we have no identity. Don't need this posted. Just venting and its very clear the offense looks lost. We need the run game back and the passing game will be better even though i still think we need to sign someone. Thanks for listening JIM.

Jim: Hey Hunter. Yeah, a few negative emails in here, but it comes with the territory. (You should see some of the ones that didn't make the cut!) Was just mentioning that 59-0 game with Greg. Have a good one. Wake those Dodgers up for me out there!

Cory Westerbeck from Chattanooga, Tennessee
Jim, the Bills game was ugly. Sunday's game against the Ravens was a whole 'nother level. Why did it look like the Ravens had 18 men on the field and 15 of them were rushing Mariota on every snap? I was traumatized.

Jim: Hey Cory. This is actually a pretty good take, because I'll admit, it did seem like it at times. I'm going back to check the film now…

Albert Gardner from Dallas, Texas
Hello Jim, longtime die-hard Titans/Oilers fan here. Thanks for the hard work you put into keeping us fans updated on all things Titans. We really do appreciate it. My question today is this: I'll be traveling this weekend to see "the Boys" play the Chargers at Wembley and my daughter and I are sitting in the lower section. Do you think there is any chance of getting autographs from the players while we're there? I'll be in London Wednesday through Monday. FYI, my daughter is in school over there...Leeds Beckett University! I'll get to visit with her and see the Titans whoop up on those Chargers. It's gonna be a great week!

Jim: Hey Albert. Appreciate the comments. Your best bet is at Wembley, although game days are sometimes tough. Before games, some guys will stop and sign autographs, but a lot of them are in game mode and locked in, wearing headphones, listening to music. After the game, there's a shot, too. I noticed some of the Seahawks mingling with fans on the first few rows this past Sunday. So try and get as close to the field as possible, near the tunnel where players come and go. During the week, there just won't be a great opportunity. The team is scheduled to get there Friday morning, and have a walk-through and practice that day, along with a walk-through on Saturday. Those sessions are closed to fans. I can tell you the Titans cheerleaders and T-Rac are scheduled to be at the Barrow Boy and Banker 6-8 Borough High Street, London, SE1 9QQ on Thursday and Friday afternoons. Some Titan alumni may show up, too. Former Titans linebacker Keith Bulluck is expected to be there, and I'm hearing several guys may be there, too. Also, 104.5-FM, the team's flagship station, will be broadcasting their mid-day show there on Friday afternoon, and there will be a fan rally. So that's a good meeting spot for Titans fans. I'm expecting to see a lot of Titans fans there – a total of 250 packages were sold to fans from the United States, and I've heard from a lot of fans in the UK. Should be an awesome trip for you since you get to see your daughter! Congrats to her. I know you must be proud. Hope it's a great week – and game.

Have a great week everyone! looks back at the all-time series against the Los Angeles Chargers. (AP Photos)

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