LOS ANGELES – It's Super Bowl week, whether Titans fans want to hear it or not.
Yes, this was supposed to be the year, but the reality is, it's not.
So, the train has to keep moving, as the team prepares for 2022.
We'll keep answering questions in here, and this time next week, all 32 teams will be in the same boat with their sights set on the fall.
Let's dive into another mailbag …
Chris Urban from Huntsville, Alabama
Question: Hi Jim. When the Titans exited I was livid at Ryan Tannehill and ready to move on. I have been a long-time supporter of Ryan and have been both terrified and amazed by his ability to thread the needle, making throws into the tightest of windows. But I was so deflated by the few critical mistakes he has made recently that I ignored his entire body of work and the fact that we all have good and bad days. I was reminded of this while I watched Mahomes make a some equally bad throws/decisions in the AFC championship game. These were some stupid, 'should have been picked' throws, and yet they weren't and Patrick gets a pass. I haven't heard anybody saying that KC needs a new QB, and surely Tannehill has earned the same respect. So I would like to say I am sorry to Ryan Tannehill. You have earned the right to make a few mistakes. Unfortunately, some mistakes cost more than others and these were painfully expensive, but they do not define you. Here's hoping (and expecting) you to bounce back in 2022. I'm back on board the Tannehill express, and I believe you are capable of guiding the Titans to a Lombardi. You aren't perfect, but neither are Brady, Rogers, Mahomes, Stafford, Burrow, or any other NFL quarterback despite what all the pundits would have us believe. We all need to step back and re-watch Brady's last pass as a Patriot and then we can judge Tannehill using the same standard. If nothing else, just watching that play will always put a smile on the face of a true Titans fan.
Jim: Hey Chris. Thanks for taking the time. It wasn't just Mahomes who struggled in the postseason. Aaron Rodgers had a tough playoff game, too. So did Kyler Murray, Jalen Hurts and Mac Jones. Mahomes and Rodgers have earned the benefit of the doubt, because they've won Super Bowls. But let's face it, Mahomes was a big reason why the Chiefs lost to the Bengals himself. While I've taken up for Tannehill in here, I'm not saying he should get a free pass. He shouldn't. His three INTs against the Bengals contributed heavily to the loss, there's no denying that, and now he's going to be facing more scrutiny than he's ever faced with the Titans heading into 2022. But I believed heading into the postseason the Titans could win a Super Bowl with Tannehill, and I'm not changing that opinion now, despite his bad game. I just think a lot of folks are ignoring the fact Tannehill has played a lot of good football in Tennessee, and that can't just be erased.
Johnny Long from Bowling Green, Kentucky
Question: Hey Jim, thanks for all you do to keep us fans up to date with everything, especially in the offseason.
My question involves Jim Schwartz. I saw that he was interviewing for the Colts DC job. I also saw they decided to go with Gus Bradley. Will the Titans be able to retain Jim on the coaching staff? I believe he was a huge part to the defense becoming so dominant and would love to see him stay with the Titans organization.
Jim: Hey Johnny. I asked Titans head coach Mike Vrabel about Schwartz last week at the Pro Bowl. Vrabel said he wants Schwartz back, and Schwartz wants to be back. But I've also seen Schwartz in the mix for some D.C. jobs across the league as well, so we'll have to see how some things play out.
Jackie Gaither from Lebanon, Tennessee
Question: Hey Jim hope all is well with you and your family long time Titan fan first time to write I've went back and watched all the games and most of the games we lost our offensive line play was our biggest weakness Tannehill never had chance to get comfortable I believe you build your football team starting with the big men up front I hope when comes draft time and free agency we will address those positions on our football team what's your opinion thanks
Jim: Hey Jackie. Well, a lot of things contributed to some of the struggles and inconsistencies on offense in 2021. Tannehill was sacked 47 times in 17 games, which is a lot, considering he was sacked just 24 times in 2020, and 31 times in 2019. I do think there will be some changes up front next season. Some decisions are going to be made, and some of them will be made based on contract status, and how the GM and head coach feel about certain players moving forward. Stay tuned here as well.
Dana Pickerel from Las Vegas, Nevada
Question: Approximately 5 months ago I ask a question whether Todd Downing was the right guy for the job, and should the Titans consider replacing him. With the hiring of Tim Kelly, does that change the future for Downing?
Jim: This time last year I was answering questions from a lot of folks who wanted Shane Bowen fired. I haven't received one of those in 2022. Downing will be back with the Titans in 2022. He'll work with Kelly, just like Jim Schwartz worked with Bowen last year. The hope is his presence will help, but it's going to still be Downing's offense.
Steve Smith from Great Falls, Montana
Question: Put me in the camp of NO to any possibility of the diva, Aaron Rodgers becoming a Titan. At least Tannehill takes responsibility and doesn't "roll his eyes" and blame his teammates when HE screws up! Please tell me this is just smoke being blown!
Jim: Sounds like you don't want this smoke, Steve…
Jordan Bell from Tampa, Florida
Question: Good year Titans! Not the result I predicted along with a lot of the Titans Nation but where this team is headed the futures bright. This off-season should focus on locking in Harold Landry. When healthy he is one of the most dominant defenders in the league and on the other side of a healthy Bud we can maintain our dominance. Tannehill, Julio & Lewan may need a restructure to make way for the money we have to pay our young talent in AJ & Simmons. We may have seen the last of a lot of Jackrabbit & Saffold but we need to reassure our offensive line. Tannehill on his back was to reoccurring. I would like to see us entertain Patrick Peterson & the Honeybadger in the off-season. 2 playmakers that can reassure our defensive dominance. The draft must focus on our offensive line & building for the future. Quality picks are the name of the game & this year we don't have a lot of wiggle room trading. Salute to the front office! It's always & forever TITAN UP
Jim: Appreciate you weighing in, Jordan.
L Leos from San Antonio, Texas
Question: Dear Titans Front office, San Antonio has a solid Titans fans base would the Titans ever consider a training camp in San Antonio, TX. Titan up! We believe Vrabel & Robinson, Tannehill is our MAN! (Texas Boy)
Jim: Hello double L. The team appreciates it's fans in San Antonio, but camp won't be moving there. The team hasn't had a chance to host training camp at Saint Thomas Sports Park the past two years because of COVID and construction at the facility. It's not going anywhere any time soon.
Mike Sorey from Medical Lake, Washington
Question: What's up Jim, hope u are doin well this off-season!
Just a thought on the current QB situation. What would u think of instead of everyone wanting to get a Wilson or a Rodgers (which ain't goin to happen) we fill that back up spot by goin and getting Gardner Minshew from Philly? This guy has played in this division and wants to be a starter and win! He also brings a little hype and swag to the team. Feels like this team could use a little of that. Heck, we got Ryan for nothing to be our backup and that worked out to be pretty good. Seems like he'd be someone u wouldn't have to sell the farm to get. What u think?
Jim: You'd rather have Minshew as the starter than Tannehill? C'mon, man.
Chad Endres from Cincinnati, Ohio
Question: I have been an Oiler/Titan fan my whole life. There have been some very frustrating moments, but few moments more frustrating than watching Tannehill throw away the season (2nd year in a row, no less). This years was particularly more frustrating because the Titans clearly had the better team, other than one player that held them back. I understand the team is tied to Tannehill as of right now due to money, but I hope they are looking hard for a way to move him this offseason. The fans heard a lot from the coaches and players about needing to "show up" and "be loud" to make Nissan stadium feel like "actual home field advantage", I'd say the fans listened. Well, I hope the team is listening now when the fans are upset and done with Tannehill. Because honestly we all know the Titans should be the team playing the Rams on Sunday.
He's had his moments in the regular season (best game was against the Texans, also worst game was against the Texans), but he has been extremely underwhelming in the playoffs (2019, 2020, and 2021). Please don't respond with "well they went to the AFC Championship in 2019" we know that, but we also know Tannehill had very pedestrian games and Henry carried them. Ryan just didn't mess up enough that year to end the teams season early. Vrabel had an extremely honest evaluation in the press conference the day after the Bengals loss, he said "We have to be great around Ryan". The team was great around Ryan! Defense had 9 sacks and a turnover, AJ and other WRs were open on multiple occasions to only have off target throws come their way, AJ even was 10 yards behind the Bengals defense to only watch he ball be over thrown, the running game had 140 yards collectively, the OL protected well and still it wasn't enough to overcome his mistakes.
I understand there is a human aspect to this so no need in taking personal shots at Ryan, but the NFL is a business and they make business decisions. I think Mariota was a great person and I loved to root for him. I also understood he wasn't going to win the team a super bowl, so when they let him go it was understandable. I have never been convinced Ryan is capable of taking a team to the super bowl and now I think the majority of the fan base has come to realize that as well. When will enough be enough for the front office to make a move and move on from him? This team isn't an "elite QB" away from a Super Bowl. It is literally a game manager QB away from a Super Bowl.
Jim: Appreciate you taking the time, Chad. I disagree, but that's OK. And I can promise you this: The GM won't be making personnel decisions based on what the fans want.
Jerry Ballard from Mount Pleasant, Tennessee
Question: My post is really a statement instead of a question. I appreciate your willingness to acknowledge the shortcomings of the team in your mailbag posts. That brings credibility to the mailbag and earns you respect from your readers. Also, great job posting a variety of opinions from fans so both positive and negative comments are represented. I get the impression the team gives you the leeway to run the mailbag in the way you think best and likes your approach, so kudos to the organization as well.
Jim: Hey Jerry. I really appreciate you saying this. I try to be honest, and I want fans to have a chance to voice their opinions, good or bad. I do understand there is a line I can't cross, which is sometimes a challenge as a former newspaper guy. But the organization does give me some room in here and on the web site to give honest assessments, and I do appreciate that.
Marty Redish from Chattanooga, Tennessee
Question: Hi Jim and thanks for all you do to keep us Titans fans informed. Been a huge Titans fan since the move to Tennessee, I read the mailbag but this is the first time writing. Want join the conversation about our offense, in particular our two big investments Ryan and Derrick, both of whom have more than earned their pay. Does anyone remember the Titans before Tannehill stepped in for Marcus? These last few years with RT have been awesome. He's made Vrabel and JR look pretty good, where were they before Tannehill came in? Sure we're sore about our offense being the reason we lost playoff games these last two years. We lost those games because the Ravens and Bengals stopped Derrick Henry. We drafted Darrynton Evans because we wanted another back who was quick and hit and was through a hole in an instant. Derrick is big, strong and fast, but not as quick as many nfl backs. We should do better at getting him out in space so he can get some momentum. We need to mix things up and Foreman did that. Love Derrick, but he wasn't at his best and was not the best choice to get a yard twice when we needed it. Should have stuck with the hot hand, Foreman, in my opinion. Thanks, Jim, for sticking with RT, and thanks the whole Titans organization for giving us all a lot to be proud of! And a question: How long are Ryan and Derrick's contracts for? Titan up!
Jim: Hey Marty. Thanks for jumping in. I've heard this suggested from others, about why the team didn't use Foreman more in the playoff game. And, I understand that viewpoint, because he was running well and was in a groove. But I also couldn't see a scenario where Derrick busted his rear end to get back, and the team didn't use him. The timing of it all made things tough for sure. As for the Tannehill and Henry deals, Tannehill's contract expires after the 2023 season while Henry's deal expires after 2023 as well.
Joshua Cooper from Millbrook, Alabama
Question: Not a question just a realization, I think I figured out the problem on why we didn't win this season, because I WASN'T THERE! I wasn't able to go to any games this season but next season I'm going full out with either season tickets or a few planned games and the teams playin our boys at home next year better watch out!!!! All jokes aside though I'm excited for next season to be able to go to more games than I've been able in the past few years though I'll have to plan through college nothing will stop me ;)
Jim: You need to be there, Joshua!
Have a great week everyone!