NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The OTAs and minicamps are in the books for the Titans.
Next up is training camp, with the first practice set for July 26.
But you don't have to wait for the next mailbag.
It's here …
Eli Pittman from Salado, Texas
Question: Is 2nd round pick Harold Landry seeing any first team reps? If so do you think he could emerge as a starter pre/midseason?
Jim: Hey Eli. Per Mike Vrabel's offseason rules, I'm not allowed to say where a guy is lining up as it relates to first team, second team, etc. When practices open up for training camp, it's fair game then. But I can tell you Landry has looked good during the offseason, and I expect him to be an impact player this fall. Will he start? Well, with veterans Brian Orakpo and Derrick Morgan on the team, he's going to have a hard time unseating them. But as Morgan said recently, Seattle's defense thrived when it had rushers lining up all over the field. So the Titans could use all three of them on the field at the same time in what could be a three-headed monster.
Ernie D from Nashville
Question: Hi Jim. Thanks for all that you do in keeping us up to date with what is going on. I am most interested in our receivers and secondary. With our new offensive staff and our new secondary coach Kerry Coombs I was hoping to hear news that our receivers were catching almost everything thrown their way. And about the one thing that has killed us for years, has been the CB's playing back off the receivers and letting them catch the ball than tackling them. I was very excited when Coach Coombs said we are going to contest for the ball whenever it is in the air. I have read lately that our defense is currently ahead of our offense but not so much about pass defenses. I hope that Coach Coombs can get our secondary up to speed as he did with his players at Ohio State University that became first round draft picks. Everyone is very optimistic about this upcoming season. (I don't mean to be critical just hopeful) Go Titans.
Jim: Hey Ernie. If I had to name a position group that's impressed me the most this season, it's cornerback. Malcolm Butler, Logan Ryan and Adoree' Jackson have all been solid on the front line, and the team's top backups – LeShaun Sims and Tye Smith -- have looked good, too. Sims and Smith have played meaningful snaps in recent years, and now they're 4 and 5. So that tells you how far the team has come at the position. But I have to admit, my biggest question at this point centers on the receiver spot. Rishard Matthews missed all the OTAs and minicamp, and Corey Davis was slowed late. He looked great early, so I expect him to pick up where he left off. Michael Campanaro flashed early and was sidelined late as well. There's a lot of talent at receiver, of course, including Tajae Sharpe and Taywan Taylor. I've liked the look of some of the undrafted receivers, along with Darius Jennings, who spent time on the active roster and practice squad last year. But the Titans are going to need the young guys to step up and perform. There's a lot of talent and potential, but some questions to be answered.
Johnelle Chock from Kaneohe, Hawaii
Question: Aloha Jim. It was really interesting listening to the OTP that featured the medical aspect of football. I enjoyed hearing about all the research that the NFL is doing to make the game safer for everyone. I was wondering if you thought we had a lot of hamstring injuries last year as a team, and do you know if the new coaching staff will be looking at that? Are there exercises that players can do to protect against that injury?
Jim: Hey Johnelle. Thanks for listening. Amie Wells and Mike Keith have done a great job hosting the OTP, and they've secured some interesting guests. The hamstring injuries are tricky, and you can be sure they've been examined. Corey Davis was the big one last year, along with Marcus Mariota. In Corey's case, he arrived with it and just had trouble getting over it. And I suspect Mariota's hamstring might've been a result of him not being able to train last offseason like he wanted to because he was recovering from the fractured fibula. Johnathan Cyprien had a bad one, too, of course. The strength and conditioning staff – now headed up by Tom Kanavy – is well studied on it, I can promise you that. It's usually an issue across the league. A big part of it centers on conditioning. The next few weeks leading up to training camp will be huge in preventing them. Players will be on their own, and they're going to need to stay in good shape to be ready to hit the ground running in camp – without injuring a hamstring.
Seth Ellis from Nashville, Tennessee
Question: Hey Jim. Do you think the Titans will ever retire McNair's 9 and Eddie George's 27? We never issue those numbers to anyone, and I doubt we ever will, so is there a reason against retiring them? Also, do you think Tim Shaw's 59 could get retired? Obviously, Woodyard would receive a grandfather clause. Thanks.
Jim: Hey Seth. Well, that's the owner's call, and I must admit, I haven't had that conversation with Amy Adams Strunk to ask her about the subject. You're right – No.9 and No. 27 haven't been worn since. And those guys remain key faces of the franchise, and they always will be. They helped put the team on the map. It's nice of you to mention Shaw in such a positive manner. He's a special guy, and an incredible inspiration. Next time I see the owner I'll try and get her thoughts on retiring numbers.
Kenny Gore from Horse Cave, Kentucky
Question: Hello Jim. I am EXCITED!! I LOVE everything I have heard/seen/read about the ENTIRE Coaching Staff. Mike Vrabel brings attitude, top level leadership, experience at every level of the NFL; and Player respect/perspective. Dean Pees brings experience & a reputation of excellence. Matt LaFleur brings innovation & youth. Coombs brings excitement to an already exciting DB group. Butler, Ryan, Jackson, & Byard ALL have Pro Bowl talent IMO. The depth in the secondary is very exciting as well. Tye Smith, LeShaun Sims, Dane Cruikshank, Damon Webb, & others all look very promising. Not too long ago I would have listed the secondary as the biggest weakness of the team. Now, I am convinced it will be a very formidable unit! Jrob as done a FANTASTIC job retooling the secondary & the entire defense for that matter.
Man, I cannot wait for the season to begin!!
OK I do have a question... Sorry for the rant... At least it was a positive rant! LOL.
We have some very big contracts on the horizon. Lewan & Marcus are the two that really stand out. Do you expect them to get done before either player has a chance to see FA?? I certainly hope so... I do not think we can afford to see those two even THINK about taking offers from other teams. Two things that are becoming VERY rare in the NFL; A Franchise QB & Elite LT....
Thanks Jim. You always make the mail a bit more fun on the weekend.... Much better than getting the electric bill!!!!
Jim: Hey Kenny. A lot to be sorted out on both players. The good news is they're both under contract for 2018, and we can't forget this thing called the franchise tag, which is an option in 2019. GM Jon Robinson said the team has had some productive conversations with Lewan's agent, and it's still early in the offseason. So there's time.
Have a great weekend everyone!