ATLANTA – The kickoff to the preseason for the Titans is now just hours away.
It's about time, huh?
To help pass the time, let's jump into a quick malbag…
Here's the link to ask questions: CLICK HERE.
Steven Crosio from Brick, New Jersey
Question: Which position should be looked at most closely when the Titans take on the Atlanta Falcons?
Jim: Hey Steven. It's hard to pick just one. Let's tell it like it is here: You're not going to see a lot of the front-liners in this one. A lot of guys didn't even make the trip. But the guys who did will get a chance to play, and prove themselves further. I'm looking forward to see the quarterbacks, Logan Woodside and Matt Barkley. Same for the receivers, guys like Marcus Johnson and Chester Rogers and Nick Westbrook-Ikhine and Racey McMath and Mason Kinsey. Will Dez Fitzpatrick come alive? I'm looking forward to seeing how Darrynton Evans looks, and the back-up running backs. And I'm looking forward to seeing the defense, especially the defensive backs. And, I can't forget special teams – from the kicking game to the return game. Things will start to get even more serious in some of these competitions tonight.
Mike Williams from Lakeland, Florida
Question: How is our special teams unit coming along? Also, is our defense looking like a top 10 defense?
Jim: Hey Mike. As I mentioned with Steven, we'll get more answers tonight. Chester Rogers, Cameron Batson and Mason Kinsey have been working at punt return in practices, and we'll now see how they do in games. The kicking battle has been competitive in the past week, and Tucker McCann will get to kick in his first game tonight. As for the defense, there's a lot to prove. The defense finished 28th in the NFL last year, and while a lot of new faces have been added, they're going to have to come together. I'm not about call it a top 10 defense on Friday the 13th (in August).
Zachary Carpenter from Brentwood, Tennessee
Question: Hello Jim. I just followed you on Twitter to learn more about the Titans. I was wondering about our defensive line depth. From what I have heard, the fifth defensive line spot is mostly down to Naquan Jones and Trevon Coley. Who do you think has a better chance to make the roster? Also, I was wondering about our edge rushers. Is there a chance we keep both Roberson and Adeniyi?
Jim: Hey Zachary. I think you're right on the order, as Jeffery Simmons, Denico Autry, Teair Tart and Larrell Murchison take up the first four. So far, I've only seen Jones and Coley in practices. These games will reveal a lot more. Coley, of course, has more experience – this is year 5 for him. Jones is a rookie, as you know, going through all of this for the first time. But I've heard – and seen – some good thins about him. A good start in the preseason tonight would certainly help his cause.
Danny Patterson from White House, Tennessee
Question: Hey Jim. Do you think as cuts start happening, the Titans could add another situational pass rusher for depth. I know they are still evaluating the guys in camp but I kept thinking about the insane amount of snaps Harold Landry was playing last year. Even with Bud Dupree you can never have enough pass rushers.
Jim: Not ruling anything out, Danny, but the team has certainly been in worse shape at the position than it is now with Bud Dupree, Harold Landry, John Simon, Derick Roberson and Rashad Weaver in the mix. Behind Dupree and Landry, who has been banged up on camp, Simon has been good in practices, Roberson is having his best offseason as a pro, and Weaver is coming off a good week. There's potential for some good things at the position. You are right about Landry – he's played in way too many snaps over the years, and he needs to be fresh. It's hard to do that when you're playing 90 percent of the snaps.
Raymond Swinehart from Lander, Wyoming
Question: Hey Jim, always a fan of the mailbag. Long time time Titans fan This year feels different with everything the team has had going on in the off-season and a pretty weak division now that Wentz is out for the colts it makes me believe we can have the 13 win season we had back in 08.
My question, probably jumping way ahead with a high expectation for the season is, how is the pass rush coming along? I know we saw in the Super Bowl how effective the pass rush from Tampa was at stopping Patrick Mahomes and he was still making extraordinary plays while basically scrambling the entire time. Are we going to be close to emulating that kind of aggressive pressure, or is it too early to tell this sort of thing?
Jim: Hey Raymond. Appreciate you reading. I just touched on the OLBs with Danny. But the pass rush is a combination of a lot of things, and the presence of Denico Autry and Jeffery Simmons up front – along with what should be an improved secondary – should help. How the Titans do rushing the passer in 2021 will go a long way in determining the team's success/failure. We all know 15 sacks in a regular season doesn't cut it. It's too early to tell, and let's face – you're not going to get a lot of answers tonight with a lot of back-ups playing on each side of the ball. But there's at least reason to be optimistic.
Eli Decko from Youngwood, Pennsylvania
Question: I've been seeing a bunch of guys are either leaving practice early or not practicing. Guys like Harold Landry really worry me. Is this just a veteran's rest kind of a deal or are they getting hurt? Clearly Derrick Henry doesn't really need to practice and I really like what I read from the RB coach how he's taking on a coaching type role and really digging into the mental side of the game more. Do you think during his time with LaDainian Tomlinson he was able to get a few trade tips from him? I personally think LT was the best running back I've ever seen. Have a good one Jim.
Jim: Hey Eli. A lot of guys have been held out, some because they're nursing injuries, others because there's just no sense in putting strain on them in camp. But this is going on across the NFL. As for Derrick Henry getting tips from LT, I don't think they had much time to chat game. I agree LT was a great back, but he had a different style than Henry.
Dennis Utterback from Louisville, Kentucky
Question: Hey Jim. Just wondering what is wrong with Julio? Does he have a serious injury?
Jim: I saw him the other day, Dennis. He was walking around just fine. The team is watching his workload, giving him time to feel 100 percent. The Titans never planned to give Julio a full workload in camp, so there's no need to panic. Like a bunch of guys, Julio won't be playing tonight, but that's OK.
Thomas Dublin from College Grove, Tennessee
Question: Who are the 3 defensive linemen starting as of now?
Jim: DE Denico Autry, NT Teair Tart, DT Jeffery Simmons.
Tim Blaufuss from Boston, Massachusetts
Question: Hey Jim! I'm super excited about how the team is looking and wanted to know about some lesser known players that I haven't heard too much about. How are Adam Coon, Darrynton Evans, and Racey McMath looking? Thanks!!
Jim: Hey Tim. A quick hit on all three:
Adam Coon was waived injured the other day. He got hurt in practice, rehabbed for a bit, and was let go.
Darrynton Evans has been good in practices, but his big test for 2021 will come tonight – he's starting at RB.
Racey McMath got off to a blazing start in camp, but he's been quieter of late. I'm looking forward to seeing him tonight.
Edward McKinney from Antioch, Tennessee
Question: I was wondering about Elijah Molden starting at the slot CB or third safety position. I recall him being described as a very intelligent player, film junkie, and another coach on the field. I know he was injured, but is he presently practicing? If so, how is he performing? What are the defensive coaches saying about him? If Elijah is not a candidate to start in one of these positions, who is the likely starter for the slot CB and third safety position, in your opinion?
Jim: Hey Edward. Elijah is going to be a good player, but it's early. He's been dinged up, and he's still finding his way. Everyone is high on him, but right now he has more experienced guys ahead of him.
Enjoy the game everyone!