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Titans Mailbag: Jim Wyatt Answers Questions from Fans

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PITTSBURGH, Pa. – We're rolling through the preseason, and closing in on September.

And that means one thing: The regular season opener against the Dolphins will be here before we know it.

But first things first.

The Titans face the Steelers here on Saturday in preseason game No.3.

And before that, we have the latest edition of the Titans mailbag, which is jam-packed with questions from all over the globe.

It's coming to you live from the Steel City in 3 … 2 … 1 ...

James Wolfe from Goodlettsville, Tennessee

Question: Why was Corey Davis not targeted more or given more assignments for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers game?

Jim: Hey James. You're right -- Davis only played 11 snaps against the Bucs, which was one less than Marcus Mariota. Coach Mike Vrabel said heading into the game first team guys who got a lot of work during the joint practices probably wouldn't play much in the game, and that held true. Some guys didn't play at all. I'm expecting the starters to get their most extensive action of the preseason on Saturday, and that includes Corey. But I'm still not expecting the front-liners to get a lot of work. Based on what I've seen from Corey, however, he's on the right track.

Gustavo Espinho from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Question: Greetings from Brazil. I'd like to know what is happening with Rashaan Evans, our first round pick. The Coaching Staff silence about him is getting weird. He would be a great addition for depth in ILB position. I'd also like to know what do you think about our defense -- especially our secondary? So much talent there, but I'm worried about its behavior on deep balls. And I found the defensive team too prolific in penalties. Regards.

Jim: Hello Gustavo! So the Rashaan question has made it all the way to Brazil! I can tell you he's making progress. He had a setback early in camp, and it's sidelined him. He was in uniform on Wednesday, and went through a few snaps in individual drills, and was pulled. He's just not ready. But I've seen him do some of his on-field rehab and he's looked good. Last week he worked with kettlebells, with the ropes and using a ladder. I've seen more movement drills, and running. So he's getting closer. He talked to reporters the other day, and it's clear he's anxious to return. As for the secondary, I still think it's one of the strengths of the team.

Donald Wilkerson from Monroe, Virginia

Question: The Titans pass defense continues to be a total bust. This has been a problem year after year as 4th quarter leads vanish and teams laugh and laugh at the pass D. Will this continue or is the team going to correct this embarrassment?

Jim: Hey Donald. Yes, the defense has given up a lot of yards, and plays on defense. But to call the secondary a bust based on what we've seen so far is a bit of an overreaction. Malcolm Butler didn't play against the Bucs, and front-line corners Logan Ryan and Adoree' Jackson played 16 snaps each. The same goes for safety Kevin Byard. Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston was lighting up a defense that included backups, and some guys who won't be on the team. Let's wait to see a little more – with the starters – before declaring the unit a bust.

Leandro Betbeze from Buenos Aires, Argentina

Question: Hola Jim, Buenos dias te escribo desde el desconocimiento cabal del juego, pero eso no me impidio ser fan de los Titans, con viaje a Nashville para ver dos partidos incluido. Pregunto, nuestra defensiva no de muchas ventajas a los tiros largos? No hace unos años que estamos teniendo problemas en la secundaria? Es normal este desempeño en los partidos de pretemporada? Gracias por tu tiempo y me encanta tu trabajo.

Jim: Hola Leondro. Gracias por la pregunta. No me asustaría aún. Los equipos no planean jugar en la pretemporada, y los Titans no han jugado mucho con sus titulares en los primeros dos partidos. Algunos chicos no han jugado en absoluto. El juego contra los Steelers debería darnos una mejor indicación de dónde están las cosas, pero incluso entonces los verdaderos Titans no se conocerán hasta que comience la temporada regular, cuando los titulares estén jugando todo el juego y los entrenadores estén planificando el juego. Pronto lo sabremos.

Darin Finkelstein from Chatham, New Jersey

Question: Hey Jim. Looking forward to how the Titans defense performs against the Steelers. Disappointed with the amount of yards and big plays the Titans have given up during the first two preseason games. Although many of the yards in the Tampa game occurred with Tampa's starters against Titan back-ups the 2 game trend is a concern. Did you notice a greater level of defensive intensity this week as the team prepares for Pittsburgh? Thanks, Darin

Jim: Hey Darin. I hear ya, but keep in mind the team hasn't game planned the first two weeks, and the starters have played just a handful of snaps in each game. The third preseason game is usually more of a dress rehearsal, so we'll get some more clues. But again, I don't think they're going to play a ton. The team has focused more on the opponent leading up to this game rather than just lining up and playing, so it will be a better test for sure.

Nick Wettling from Kokomo, Indiana

Question: Just wondering why our backups can't cover other teams backups but yet we are supposed to be a decent depth team?

Jim: The roster is at 90 now, and will be down to 53 in a week. Some of the guys who've struggled won't be on the team at the end of next weekend. The ones who will be obviously will need to play better. Stay tuned.

Daniel Mode from Taiwan

Question: Heya Jim, nee-hao from Taiwan! Though we're in shockingly different time zones, I still manage to keep up with my Titans, you and all the action surrounding my favorite squad. This is the year, right?!
Anyway, my question is actually about peculiar PFF grades for Kenny Vaccaro. I'm seeing everyone discussing his low PFF grades this week and when I log in to my PFF account they certainly aren't pretty over the years. Yet when I look at numerous articles published by PFF themselves over the past few years, in those articles they give him MUCH better grades!
They currently look like: 2013 - 66.7 2014 - 48.9 2015 - 65.8 2016 - 65.0 2017 - 50.3
But take a look at the infographics on these two articles. I'm hoping the ones they were using previously are more correct. Any idea which one is more accurate. What an elite secondary we could have! Keep up the good work my friend. Zai Jian!

Jim: Hey Daniel. I checked out the links you sent me, and that is interesting. PFF's grading system is pretty complex, and while I like them, I do think it's hard to pin grades on players, especially offensive linemen and guys in the secondary. It's just hard to know who is responsible without knowing the exact coverage (for secondary), and blocking assignments (for offensive linemen). I do think Vaccaro is highly regarded, and the team was lucky he was still around when Johnathan Cyprien went down. Appreciate the question from Taiwan!

John Deane from Wellingborough, England

Question: Hi Jim. I try to keep up to date with what's going on- but I have probably missed somewhere along the line what's happening with Brian Orakpo? Long-time fan from across the pond going back to the Astrodome. Will be at Wembley for my first Titans live match. Keep up the good work.

Jim: We're coming in from all over the globe today! Hey John. Well, I happened to be locked in on Orakpo the day he got hurt. He was being blocked by tight end Luke Stocker, and he lost his balance and fell back. Stocker landed directly on top of him. Brian went to the sideline and talked to trainers, threw his helmet in frustration, and he went inside for tests. He hasn't practiced since. Vrabel has described it as a shoulder injury. And while Brian hasn't practiced since, he's also stepped things up in rehab and has looked good based on what I've seen. I don't expect to see him in the preseason, but I know he's working hard to get back ASAP.

Joey Ervin from Lebanon, Tennessee

Question: Will Ethan Wolf make roster with Phillip Supernaw gone?

Jim: Hey Joey. It's going to be tough. Delanie Walker, Jonnu Smith and Luke Stocker are going to make three, and if there's a fourth I'm not sure it'll be him. He's competing for a practice squad spot in my opinion.

Kevin Kerrigan from East Hanover, New Jersey

Question: I have read good things about free agent TE Anthony Firsker. Does He have a chance to make the team at the end of preseason?

Jim: Hey Kevin. I wrote about Anthony this week! He's performed well, and if there's a fourth I think he has a shot. If not, he's also in the mix for practice squad.

Bob Wichmann from Centennial, Colorado

Question: What are Cody's chances of making the team? Grandpa Bob

Jim: Hi Mr. Wichmann. He's competing, and he's battling. His fate depends on how many interior linemen the team elects to keep. But your grandson is working hard and improving. I'm sure you're proud of his work ethic. Take care.

Nick Reinhart from New Riegel, Ohio

Question: Hey Jim. Haven't heard much about linebackers during training camp other than the starters, Harold Landry, and Rashaan Evans. Is there any fighting for positions there with Orakpo not healthy? Could Josh Carraway see the field at all this season or will Landry and other proven players take his chance for a backup role.

Jim: Hey Nick. At inside backer, Jayon Brown has been really good. One of the stars of the offseason, training camp, and now the presason. He's going to make an impact this fall. At outside linebacker, behind Orakpo and Derrick Morgan, it's Landry and Aaron Wallace. And undrafted free agent Sharif Finch has impressed me as well. Carraway is in the mix, but he needs to close strong.

Dave Bettlach from Chesterfield, Missouri

Question: Hey Jim, Two guys we're not hearing much about Levin and Su'a Filo. Do both of them make the roster or has Wichmann passed them by? Best guess 8 or 9 O-linemen on the 53?

Jim: Vrabel has really praised Levin of late, after the past two games. He's coming on, and I think he's earned a spot on the 53. Su'a-Filo has been quieter. Kevin Pamphile has been solid as a guy who can do a number of things as well – inside and out. The math gets to 8 or 9 across the o-line pretty quick, including the starting five and Dennis Kelly. I'm thinking eight or nine, counting Jack Conklin, but it's an interesting decision and hard for me to decide on a number because of the injury question.

Jabari Jackson from Merced, California

Question: Mr. Wyatt thank you for keeping me connected to my Titans. Living in California all we hear about is 49ers, Chargers, Raiders, Rams. My question is simple. With what you've seen thus far from the receivers is it necessary in your expert opinion for Jon Robinson to trade for a guy, add a free agent receiver, or can we contend with what we have at the receiver position?

Jim: Hey Jabari. Well, let me start off by saying nothing would surprise me with the GM. He's made trades, and some bold moves. With that said, he's been patient with the young receiving corps, which tells me he thinks the team can win with the guys on the roster. Of course getting a veteran like Rishard Matthews back will help. Keep in mind teams have to trim roster from 90 to 53 players on September 1. Do the math and that's 1,147 players from other teams that will hit the market. A lot of them will be receivers, and right now, no one knows exactly which guys will be cut loose. So if the right guy becomes available, the thought process could change. But right now I suspect what he's considering now is whether to keep five or six WRs on the 53-man roster, or which guys would be good candidates for the practice squad.

Paul Franchina from West Valley City, Utah

Question: Hey Jim my first time asking a question but been a Titans fan since 99. Do you think there is any chance that we sign Dez Bryant because of Matthews on the PUP list even if Matthews comes back he could be an insurance policy for injury?

Jim: Well Paul, a lot of folks beat you to the Dez Bryant question. My answer: Don't bet on it.

Matthew Edwards from Goodlettsville, Tennessee

Question: After the injuries of Cyprien and Tye Smith, we added S Kenny Vaccaro who has played solid in the league, but also S Jason Thompson with only practice squad experience and viewed as a versatile project by other teams who gave up on him. Are the Titans at a point with the roster that adding inexpensive potential is justified over young proven NFL players like Eric Reid or a veteran thumper like Mike Mitchell, or is that a money/political decision?

Jim: Hey Matthew. I get the sense it has nothing to do with money. The Titans brought in a bunch of safeties when Cyprien was injured – Reid was scheduled to visit, but he had travel issues – and the team decided Vaccaro was the best fit. I think he's settling in nicely, and expect him to start opposite fellow safety Kevin Byard.

Zach from Cookeville, Tennessee

Question: Hey Jim. What have the Titans seen in Demontre Hurst to move him to safety? I think we'll keep four safeties, obviously the starters Kevin Byard and Kenny Vaccaro, but after that I like two of Dane Cruikshank (assuming he's not injured), Brynden Trawick, and Damon Webb to make the team. What do you think of the safety position, reserves in particular?

Jim: Hey Zach. The coaches moved Hurst to safety at the start of the offseason, and because of injuries, they're lucky they did. He's been able to step in and play when others went down. You're right on Byard and Vaccaro – those are the starters. But you're forgetting about Kendrick Lewis, who has improved and is probably the third -- until his recent injury, that is. He's been out the past week, so that's complicated things. Cruikshank returned to practice this week, and I think those are your four. Trawick, a Pro Bowler last season, makes five. There's always a chance the GM could be interested in someone who gets cut elsewhere next weekend, too. So stay tuned here.

Cody Milholen from Lexington, Tennessee

Question: Hey Jim, I find myself back in the mailbag again! I've seen where some teams have VR (virtual reality) rooms in their facilities. With all the upgrades the Titans have been making so they have one of these rooms, and if not do you see them ever getting one? I could definitely see how it could help the team and specifically the quarterback.

Jim: Hey Cody. Interesting question. I know other teams have invested in the virtual reality, and I'm curious about it myself. I know the team is always looking for different ways to advance, and I know it's been discussed in the past and potentially investigated. But up to this point it the team hasn't utilized the virtual reality to a great degree.

Andy G from Pharr, Texas

Question: Will Jack Conklin be ready for the season opener?

Jim: Hey Andy. Well, we're not just about two weeks away from knowing. I must admit, the more time passes, the more I'm beginning to doubt it. Dennis Kelly has worked at right tackle all camp, and barring a quick return by Conklin, who remains on PUP, it's sure looking like Kelly will be the guy in Miami.

Darin Thomas from Bountiful, Utah

Question: I don't have a question (at this time) but rather a helpful solution for Tyler. Last mailbag he asked how to watch Titans games without having to have Directv. I may have a solution, if you have Roku or a Ps4 you can download the NFL Sunday ticket app and pay the subscription fee ($199 I think), and watch all the games this way without having to have a Directv account. I've been doing it this way for the last 3-4 season and as long as you have a decent internet connection it works just fine. But keep in mind that because it does stream via internet the games are like 10 minutes delayed. Anyways hope this helps. Peace

Jim: Great info Darin. Appreciate you dropping the knowledge.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Titans Online looks back at the all-time series between the Tennessee Titans and Pittsburgh Steelers. (AP Photos)

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