NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Welcome to the end of June.
And to another Titans mailbag.
Let's get right to it…
Alan Ray from College Grove, Tennessee
Question: Hey Jim. A couple things. I want to say, along with the uniform update, the facelift performed on the Titans website is a vast improvement over the old look. Clean, tight and uncluttered. And just in time for the new Titans to make their 2018 debut. Can't wait. Kudos to those who worked on it... it works. Other thing. The problem for me with nicknames for the RBs is that one has to be one or the other. If one is Smoke the other is Mirrors-if one is Fire the other is Ice. How about a collective name that is neither one, but is of both?"Derrick & Dion...the pair that beats three-of-a-kind." Thanks, Jim. Titan Up!
Jim: Hey Alan. Appreciate you noticing. And everyone should check it out here. It was a league initiative, and behind-the-scenes guys like Jeff Harding and Gary Glenn did a lot of work on it in-house. I think it looks great, too. As for the nickname, I think you've opened up a whole new set of possibilities….
Justin Cynor from Sheldon, Wisconsin
Question: Hey Jim. Quick question: Do you think we will sign Dez Bryant? Adding one more vet to the young WRing core. We've done it in the past ie Randy moss haha, n Andre Johnson. I think it could make some sense. Bring him in for a one year contract (being what he wanted) and have him mentor young Corey Davis. Or do you think his attitude won't mesh with the locker room? Heck I'd even stand a shout out to T.O. to come mentor Davis. I see a bit of Owens in Davis. Thanks Jim!
Jim: _Hey Justin. That's been a popular question, not just here but in a lot of NFL cities. I haven't heard a lot of buzz about signing Dez in the building. But I must say, the other guys you mentioned didn't work out great in Tennessee. Moss hardly played a few regimes back, and while Andre made a huge game-winning catch in Detroit, he wasn't the player he was earlier in his career, and that's why he abruptly retired. Where Dez ends up depends a lot on Dez, and what he's looking for at this stage of his career. The GM doesn't seem to be in panic mode as it relates to the WR position. I suspect he wants to see the team's current players develop, and he wants them to get reps in training camp. But things can always change. As for T.O., I definitely wouldn't bet on that one happening. You really think he'd be a great mentor for the young guys? _
Craig Pidgeon from Nottingham, UK
Question: Hi Jim. First time writer here all the way from England. I've got my ticket for the Chargers game in London my question is will we have any chance to interact with any of the players before or after the game? It would also be cool to meet Amy Adams Strunk. I know she sometimes meets fans for pics and stuff. Also I've heard the American fans will have tailgates before the game not 100% sure what they are or if a die-hard English Titan would be welcome. Thanks for all the great coverage of the team and the podcast is awesome. I think it'll be a good season with some exciting football TITAN UP!!!!
Jim: Hey Craig. Thanks for taking the time. I think your best bet for interaction, with Amy or players, will be before the game. The plan is for the team to fly late in the week, and then go through final preparations in London. Well before the game some players potentially could stop, but keep in mind a lot of them are in game mode, with headphones on and focused. The owner has been great about mingling, and stopping for photos and autographs. And if you see a Titans tailgate, American fans would welcome you without question. The more the merrier! Hope to see you there! I'm already looking forward to that trip.
Nathaniel Torres from Hampton
Question: Good afternoon Jim. I'm a long time reader but first time writer. Thanks for all you do keeping us all up to date on our Titans. My question is in regards to Jordan Veasy. In college he had issues with dropping the ball but I keep reading about the coaching staff being impressed with him. His frame makes him a big target and besides Corey Davis the Titans don't have any big receivers. Do you think this gives him a good shot to make the roster?
Jim: Hey Nathaniel. Appreciate the question. I've been impressed with Veasy. He has great size, and has proven to be a pretty savvy route runner this offseason. He's caught the ball well in practices. I think he's a contender, but he's going to have to carry his success over into training camp and the preseason, when the pads come on.
Nicolas Delamare from Laval, France
Question: Hi Jim. Always a pleasure to ask you some questions here or read you on twitter for Titans fans who are so far from you guys !! Thanks... I read your mailbag every week and I read a question last week or two weeks ago, very similar to mine...Nine years ago, a drama has stolen us (Titans' family) our number 9 and our loving Steve forever... I'm not the best guy for explain that Steve was so important for Oilers/Titans and for NHL (His record at Super Bowl is always here with 64 yards running by a QB) So, with the help of Asking Jim, my question is simple: please Amy Adams Strunk, could you retire for the eternity, the number 9 of our family? Maybe an OTP for announcing this wonderful news? Thanks for all guys.
Jim: _Hey Nicolas. Always good to hear from you. And thanks for your feedback. _
Chuck Ables from Geraldine, Alabama
Question: I was wondering where Sylvester Croom is now?
Jim: Hey Chuck. Well, first off, Sylvester is a great guy. And he's now senior vice president of operations for the Reese's Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama.
Bill in Spokane, Washington
Question: Mr. Wyatt. Taylor Lewan's probable holdout seems in direct contravention with Coach Vrabel's 'Team First' philosophy. What might Lewan bring in the trade market? There are several NFC teams who are both in need of offensive lineman and who are likely to have valuable draft picks to deal (see Cleveland Browns, Arizona Cardinals). 1st round draft picks are always expensive and rarely justified (last year's All-Pro left tackles and Super Bowl Champion left tackle were not 1st-rounders). So I say trade 'Me-First' Lewan for a couple of 2nd-round picks. What say you? Thanks.
Jim: Hey Bill. Appreciate the question. Personally, I think the team is more focused on getting things worked out with Taylor than trying to trade him. The GM said that himself. You mentioned several teams in need of an offensive lineman. I'll add another to the list: the Titans. We'll have to wait and see how this one plays out. The good news is training camp is still over three weeks away.
Bob Abuyi from Germantown, Tennessee
Question: Hi, Jim! Thanks for what you do! Question -- how much is Marcus Mariota permitted to surf these days? I remember that was a point of discussion/negotiation when he first signed with the team. Merely curious as to the team's current standing on this.
Jim: Hey Bob. Marcus is allowed to surf as much as he wants. Back in 2015, there was an erroneous report that his rookie deal was held up because of a clause that didn't allow him to surf. He laughed at that after signing. Back then, Marcus also made it clear that he prefers a boogie board, which is considered far less dangerous.
Jake Rehurek from Omaha, Nebraska
Question: Jim, first of all I am a big fan of what you provide for Titans fans and your hard work is truly appreciated. Not many Titans fans here in Nebraska, so the only chance I ever get to see what fans have to say about the team is through your mailbag.
My question for you is this: How difficult will it be to judge the Titans success this year based off wins and losses? I was extremely happy with the team getting to the divisional round this past year (I was at that playoff win against the Chiefs, barely made it out of the stadium alive). However, this year not only do we have a whole new coaching staff but the AFC South is growing increasingly tougher. Racking up divisional wins this year will not be easy, yet it is still an expectation for a Titans fan as of now. If you were a fan that judges a team's success based off their record, then the Titans will have to boast a 10-6 record this year in order to say they have "improved." I think the Titans will improve this year, but it won't be easy getting to 10 wins especially with the backbreaking first half of games on the schedule against teams like the Texans, Jaguars, Eagles, Chargers, and Cowboys. Having said that what would be the best way to measure the Titans' success this year besides looking at their final record at the end of the season? Thanks Jim!
Jim: _Hey Jake. I really appreciate the kind words. And I agree 100 percent with your take. The Titans had a good season in 2017, no doubt. The team made it to the playoffs for the first time since 2008, and won a playoff game for the first time since the 2003 season. A 10-win season (counting a playoff win) is nothing to sneeze at in today's NFL. I know the expectations are high heading into 2018, and they should be. Some key pieces return, and some good ones have been added. Things are not going to be easy, though. The entire AFC South has improved, and the two Super Bowl participants come to town this year in the Eagles and Patriots. No matter what happens, I don't think it's going to be fair to judge Vrabel off one season. Of course making it to the playoffs and going on a deeper run is the goal. Heck, winning the Super Bowl is the goal. But what's also important is showing improvement in several key areas, and setting the stage for years of consistency like we all saw when the team first became Titans in 1999. _
Have a great weekend everyone!