NASHVILLE, Tenn. – OK, it's finally here. Well, almost.
The Titans kick off the regular season on Sunday against the Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium.
To help pass the time, here's the mailbag. I'm headed to South Florida …
Jesse Hicks from Hanahan, South Carolina
Question: Hey Jim, I am a long-time Trojans fan and new Titans fan due to having Adoree Jackson. My question is: Do you think we will see more of Adoree on offense? Last year he had a few chances and he was third on the team for rushing. I feel as if he has the explosiveness to make big plays on offense for the Titans as he did on the Trojans. What is your take on it?
Jim: Hey Jesse. I'm not ruling anything out, because you're right – Adoree' was successful in his limited snaps on offense in 2017. But when I look at the Titans personnel on offense this year, I'm not sure he's needed as much. Dion Lewis is a matchup problem, and Taywan Taylor can provide a big burst who is capable of lining up anywhere as well. Time will tell…
Levar Mitchell from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Question: Will Dion Lewis have more touches then Derrick Henry?
Jim: It's the million dollar question, and we'll finally start to get some answers on Sunday. My answer: Some weeks, he might. Of course some weeks, Henry will lead the way. I expect to see Lewis on the field in a lot of third down situations, and I expect to see him catching the ball out of the backfield. But it's going to be a week-by-week deal with these guys.
Darin Finkelstein from Chatham, New Jersey
Question: Hey Jim. Thanks for the great coverage. Really appreciate the daily information. Just purchased tickets for our family road trip to Miami for opening day! Prior to moving to Jersey we lived in Miami for 20+ years. During this time I watched several mediocre Dolphin teams steal September games because they were conditioned to play in the heat and humidity. Are the Titans doing anything different from a conditioning perspective to prepare for this early season weather challenge?
Jim: Hey Darin. Yes, it gets hot in South Florida, and the way Hard Rock Stadium is designed, the home team's sideline is protected by the sun most of the day, while the visiting teams bake. But it's been a hot summer in Nashville, and the team has practiced in it all the way through. In years past, I've seen the Titans wear down Florida teams in September. For example, take Jacksonville last year. See ya there!
Michael Liguori from Lelystad, The Netherlands
Question: Jim. Thanks for all the great coverage during this pre-season. I really enjoyed the daily OTPs and all your updates.
I have two questions:
1. I was very surprised with the cuts and the practice squad selections. Deontay Barnett, Nick Williams and Julius Warmsley seemed to really impress during Training Camp and Pre-season and I expected them to make the roster. However, they not only didn't make the 53 but they also didn't make the practice squad. Do you have an update on these guys and know what the deciding factor was in the decision to let them go?
2. The Titans D was much improved last year and I expect them to be even better this year. One area that has me very nervous was that all year we were susceptible to passes to the running backs, Dion Lewis in the playoffs was only the most obvious (and painful) example. Unfortunately, I saw us being burned by it again in the Pre-season. Do you know if this has been a focus from Coach Pees and Coach Vrabel? I don't recall it ever being discussed in Training Camp or Pre-season.
Jim: Hey Michael. Thanks for checking in from The Netherlands. Those guys all performed well. Barnett ended up signing with the Jets practice squad (the Titans wanted him back on the p.s.), but I haven't seen Williams or Warmsley land anywhere yet. But it could still happen. I just think the team felt Darius Jennings and Cam Batson were better options on the back end at WR, and the team elected to go another direction on the d-line as well. As for the pass defense vs. opposing running backs, that's a fair question, and the Titans will face a challenge right out of the gate in Miami's Kenyan Drake. It has been a focus. Look for linebacker Jayon Brown to get some responsibilities vs. opposing running backs, along with some other guys on defense.
Kevin Jamison from Lewisburg, Tennessee
Question: Hi Jim, first I would like to say thank you for doing these questions as it keeps me updated on the day to day of the Titans. My question is about Marcus. What can we expect from him this year as far as taking complete control of the offense as a leadership standpoint. Will he be doing more audibles and hurry up plays at the line of scrimmage going into his fourth year?? Thanks in advance.
Jim: Hey Kevin. Appreciate you reading, and taking time to send in a question. I think you'll see Mariota look more comfortable as the season goes on, and it will turn into his offense. He has a good feel for things already, and that will improve. You'll see some RPOs, probably some things that will remind you of his college days, and you'll see him take control. Now will it look perfect from the get-go? Well, that might be too optimistic. I think there will be some growing pains along the way. But I look for him to settle in.
Debbie Chandler from Portland, Tennessee
Question: Could you please tell me which home game will the U.S. Marines be collecting for the Toys For Tots Toy Drive. My husband and I come to this game every year as Santa and Mrs. Claus and donate a Santa size bag of toys. It's usually printed on the paper tickets, and we make plans early to attend the game. Is there a link to access the home games' special game day plans? I can see where this could be an issue for the various charities that count on the Titans fans' support. Please let us know if we can help in any way. Many thanks, Jim.
Jim: Hi Debbie. Mark your calendar – it's the December 2 game vs the Jets.
Gerardo Villarreal from Monterrey, Mexico
Question: Jim, I am going to a few games this year at Miami, at Dallas, at Houston and at New York (Giants). Asking you for tips to enhanced the experience (perhaps you know fans that are going, places, etc). Thank you for your help!
Jim: Hey Gerardo. I haven't heard of any team sponsored or radio sponsored tailgate parties at any of those spots, but if you've been to a Dolphins game in the past you know there's a pretty good parking lot area surrounding the stadium where you'll probably notice some Titans fans. As for the Texans trips, I met a great group of fans there (@TTFIH on Twitter) and I know they'll have a big gathering in Houston, and I'm betting in Dallas before that Monday night game. You should look them up if you're not familiar with them.
Laurence Nakasone from Aiea, Hawaii
Question: Hi, Jim. Hope all is well with you. As always, mahalo for all your hard work. Now, on to my question. QB Luke Falk, who was cut by the Titans, was quickly snatched up by the Dolphins, our first opponent of the season. They already have 3 QBs on their roster and the addition of Falk makes 4. Some have speculated that this was done so that the Dolphins could glean info from him about the Titans offense. Strategy, tendencies, signals, actual play calls, etc. If true, this would give them a huge advantage! It's a bit sneaky but not against the rules. What do you think? Should I be concerned? Anyway, have a nice day and Go Titans!
Jim: Aloha Laurence. That's been a topic of conversation here, and I suspect he's been asked. And, of course, every tidbit of information helps leading into Week One. But I admit, I'm a little skeptical about how much he could tell them. When it comes down to it, it's going to be about Mariota making good throws, the offensive linemen winning up front, the running backs running hard, and the receivers making plays on offense. And one last thing on Falk: If he ends up getting released early next week, the Miami's cover will be blown.
TitansOnline.com looks back at the team's all-time series against the Miami Dolphins. (Photos: Donn Jones, AP)
Stephen Coleman from Clinton, Tennessee
Question: Hey Mr Wyatt! My question is: Could Mr. Jon Robinson still bring in veteran help at the receiver and defensive tackle positions.
Jim: With Robinson, I never rule anything out. The team is currently heavy at those positions, but I also know a lot of teams make moves after the first week of the season, when teams don't have to worry about the guaranteed contract of players on the roster Week One. In case you were wondering, or about to ask, don't waste your time asking about Dez Bryant.
Jimmy Zach Frizzell from Idaho Falls, Idaho
Question: Hey Jim. I've been a fan of the Titans since they moved to Tennessee. I keep asking myself why no one talks about Henry's inability to pass block. Last season I kept wondering why Murray was in there when he was clearly not 100%. I was yelling at the coaches through the tv put in Henry. As the season was nearing the end I came to the conclusion that Henry cannot pass block. Look at the Kansas City game. Am I wrong? I feel like his pass blocking is the elephant on the field no one seems to be talking about.
Jim: Hey Jimmy Zach. Well, improving in pass blocking has been a point of emphasis for Henry this offseason, and I think he's gotten better. I asked running backs coach Tony Dews about it recently, and he said so himself. And when Eddie George stopped by practice last month, it's one of the things he talked to Henry about. He gave him tips Henry has put to use. Henry's size can present some challenges not just for pass rushers, but also for himself. But when he used good technique, I've seen him punish guys. He just needs to be more consistent.
Llewellyn Roux from Lompoc, California
Question: Hi, Jim. Thank you answering my past questions. Sorry if this has already been posted in your Ask Jim Online Mailbag, but have the titans announced and posted the weekly uniform schedule and combinations as far as color Nike jerseys and pants the team are wearing each home and away game during their 2018 NFL season? Thanks.
Jim: Hey Llewellyn. The combinations for the season are not listed online, but if you follow me on Twitter (@jwyattsports), you'll see them each week when I do my "Wardrobe check" tweet. This week, it's the light blue jersey with white britches.
Jordan Yaney from Noblesville, Indiana
Question: What are your thoughts on the development of Taywan Taylor going into this season? A lot of people, including myself, are hoping for a big year out of Corey Davis, but Taylor was a third round pick just last year and speedy guys like him have seen a lot of success in Matt LeFleur's offense as a big play threat (Robert Woods, Taylor Gabriel). In my eyes, Taylor can be better than both of those guys. What do you think?
Jim: Hi Jordan. Taywan might be one of the most improved guys on the team, and I think you'll see it as the season gets going. His route running has improved, and he's a burner. Look for him to make a lot of plays this fall. At least that's the hope. But he's still going to have to earn his reps. Along with Rishard Matthews, Corey Davis and Tajae Sharpe will get a lot of reps and Taywan's going to need to perform well to earn more chances.
Kyle Mohr from Toronto, Ontario
Question: Hi Jim allllll the way from Toronto, Ontario. I'm coming down to Nashville on September 12th with my mom to take in the city for a week, and of course the home opener vs the Texans! It'll be my first time traveling to Nashville, and my question for you is, any exciting places to visit while there? We're already going to the Grand ole opry, Country Music Hall of Fame and of course the Titans game. But I was wondering if there were any other must visits down in Nashville! Thanks for your time, and keep up the great coverage!! #Titanup #Bleedblue
Jim: Hey Kyle. You're going to love the city. It's my hometown, and I'm so proud of it. Sounds like you have some big plans. I'd definitely recommend staying, or at least spending a lot of time, downtown. So much going on, and so many good places to eat. I'm also going to point you to my Twitter feed. Every Friday before a home game I tweet out a page of things to do, places to eat, and what's going on that weekend in Nashville. The wonderful Kristen Sheft puts it together, and I send it out. Fans seem to love it. Even Nashvillians eat it up, because it lists a lot of the top restaurants, and it lets folks know things going on they might not have realized. So follow me on Twitter (@jwyattsports) if you don't already, and be on the lookout!
Jason Specht from Sheridan Lake, Colorado
Question: Hey Jim, I just wanted to say that I am SUPER pumped to have Titans football again. I have been following news religiously all offseason because I just can't wait for the season to start.
Jim: Well Jason, I think you speak for a lot of people!
Have great kickoff weekend everyone!
The Tennessee Titans take the field for practice on Friday, Sept. 7, 2018 at Saint Thomas Sports Park. (Photos: Gary Glenn)