ORLANDO, Fla. –** Well, it's been another action-packed week.
After the Titans hired Mike Vrabel as their head coach last weekend, I was at the presser on Monday. Then I hit the road for Mobile, Ala., and spent Tuesday at the Senior Bowl. Vrabel and Titans general manager Jon Robinson were both there.
I left Mobile on Tuesday night, and after a long drive, was on the practice field for the Pro Bowl on Wednesday.
If you haven't checked Titans Online in recent days, you've missed a lot. We've had content from the Senior Bowl – Mike Keith and Jeff Harding spent a few days in Mobile – and we've flooded fans with Pro Bowl coverage. Amie Wells and Ashley Farrell have been here all week, along with six Titans -- and T-Rac.
Before heading to Pro Bowl practice this morning, I banged out a quick mailbag.
Let's do this…
Jordan Hoelker from Spokane Washington
Question: Hey Jim. I've been a huge Titans fan since I was a kid! I became a fan because of the tough hard-nosed way we use to play with stud players like Steve McNair, Eddie George, Derrick Mason, Frank Wycheck, Brad Hopkins, Jevon Kearse, Kevin Carter, Albert Hayensworth, Keith Bulluck, Samari Rolle, Lance Shulters, Tank Williams, Cortland Finnegan! I'm assuming with the Alumni Weeks the Titans have been having you have had chances to talk with former players! Have any of them ever expressed interest in coaching or being positional assistants? I feel like it would be awesome to have a leader like Bulluck, Kearse or George on our coaching staff to bring back some of the old spark from the early Titan days!
Jim: Hey Jordan. Some former Titans have gotten involved in coaching. At the risk of leaving some guys off, these are some former Titans who've gotten into coaching at some level: Peter Sirmon, Chris Sanders, Dave Ball, Ingle Martin, Jason Mathews, Donnie Nickey, Dennis Stallings, Gerald McRath, Rocky Calmus, Steve Jackson, Marcus Robertson, Troy Fleming, Andre Dyson, Tony Brown, Joe Bowden and Rusty Smith come to mind, and I know I am forgetting some guys. Kevin Dyson was a coach before be moved into administration. But of the ones you mentioned, only Lance Schulters has gotten involved in coaching as far as I know, and he's done it at the collegiate level as well as the NFL.
Alex McCormack from Madison Alabama
Question: I don't know if Marcus Mariota is the Titans franchise quarterback. I give Marcus Mariota one more year to prove himself. If not the Titans need to draft Jalen Hurts from Alabama after he finishes his senior year at Alabama. And Derrick Henry needs to be the starting running back going into the 2018 season
Jim: Well, Alex, I have a hunch you're an Alabama fan? And there's nothing wrong with that in my book -- my daughter goes to school there. I personally think Mariota is a franchise quarterback. Suggesting the team replace him with Hurts doesn't make a lot of sense in my mind. I'm not even sure Hurts is going to be starting for Alabama in 2018. As for Derrick Henry, he's definitely going to be in the mix.
Matt Faulks from Dickson, Tennessee
Question: When can we expect to see the Titans new uniforms unveiled?
Jim: In early April.
Nick Reinhart New Riegel, Ohio
Question: I know this could be a long shot but over the offseason do you think that there is a possibility of the Titans trading DeMarco Murray since Henry has basically earned himself the starter's job. Could the Titans trade to someone and get some draft picks and then we could start developing David Fluellen, who could possibly give us some speed out of our backfield and mix it up with Henry power and Fluellen speed?
Jim: Hey Nick. Fair question, but Vrabel still hasn't talked about Murray yet. Vrabel and Robinson will need to sort some things out. There's a lot to be determined at the running back position. Henry will be a factor, but he's always going to be in a tandem here, I think. Whether it's Murray or not remains to be seen. Mike Mularkey loved Murray, but not sure what Vrabel thinks about him yet.
William Gamble from Big Lake, Alaska
Question: Dear Jim. As you already know free agency is going to commence soon and there are a lot of interesting prospects to choose from. However, there are two very special players from a certain organization called the Patriots I think the Titans should look into. Matthew Slater and Danny Amendola. Matthew Slater is one of the best special teams players in the NFL right now and though it would come to a bidding war most likely the payoff would be great. Danny Amendola would be great as he would bring a veteran presence to the wide receiver core and would be a good option for Marcus to throw to. Do you personally think we have a chance at these players? Sincerely, William Gamble.
Jim: Hey William. Thanks for the question from Big Lake! It's fair, and both those guys you mentioned are great players, no doubt. I have to be honest here, though – I'm always leery about talking about guys on other teams, because I don't want to start rumors and because, Vrabel and Robinson sure aren't giving me any hints at this time of year to give away in here either. The reality is it's early for them as far as free agency goes anyway. They're in the process of evaluating guys on their own roster, and they spent this week at the Senior Bowl. I will say this: With their shared history with the Patriots, the guy you mentioned fit the criteria of guys they'll be looking for moving forward.
Steven Crosio from Brick, New Jersey
Question: Should Either GM Jon Robinson Or New Coach Mike Vrabel Prepare For The Massive Media Fire Storm That's Coming If They Don't Get The Big Time Coordinators Vrabel Needs?
Jim: No. They should hire guys they think will do a good job, and roll with them. I remember when the Rams hired Sean McVay. He wasn't a big name at the time. I heard some criticism, and some folks were shaking their heads. He's turned out to be a nice hire. I trust that Vrabel and Robinson aren't hiring guys just to fill spots. The guys hired will be qualified, and they'll know more about football than anyone in the Nashville media, including me.
Chip Whitley from Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Question: Hey Jim. What do you think the odds are that we pay or trade for Alex Smith? He would be a good backup, fit well in the locker room, and would no doubt be a good mentor for Mariota given their similar play styles?
Jim: *Alex Smith is a quality starter. He's at the Pro Bowl this week. He's not coming to be Mariota's mentor, or backup. *
Oscar Ó Sé from Dublin, Ireland
Question: Hey Jim. Love the stuff you do that helps us all to learn more about the Titans, thanks for that. I've heard loads about Vrabel being a great leader, but what other attributes does he have that made Jon Robinson decide to hire him as head coach? Thanks again for everything you do.
Jim: Hey Oscar! Coming from Ireland! He is a great leader, and I think players will like him. He was an all-around player in the NFL because of his work ethic and commitment, and he'll be the same as a head coach. He shares a similar vision with Robinson, and I think it's great to have those guys on the same page. Vrabel obviously knows a few things about defense, and the hope is that will show up big time on Sundays. Have a good one!
Thomas Schweigert from Mandan, North Dakota
Question: Hi Jim. You do a great job. Well the off season is here and were going to go thru a huge change, is it just me or does it seem that a lot of the coaches are scared to come here? Looks like a lot of our first picks for coordinators are going to other places instead. Why do you think this is?
Jim: Hey Thomas. Appreciate it. Some guys haven't ended up here for one reason or another -- at least one reportedly because of a commitment to stay at his current job instead of bolting. I can't explain why some others have gone elsewhere but I'm also sometimes skeptical when guys are listed as being "first choice." Vrabel said this week he's working through several options on most spots on the staff, so just because the Titans are mentioned as a possibility for guys who've gone somewhere else doesn't always mean that guy was Plan A.
Robbie Wood from Hendersonville, Tennessee
Question: The new Titans uniforms will be revealed soon. Will black jerseys be part of the uniforms? Maybe with Chrome helmets? Or are we just getting a small logo change?
Jim: Wish I could give you some info on this, Robbie. The only thing I can tell you at this point is the uniforms won't be purple. Or green.
Randy Lincoln from Hermitage, Tennessee
Question: Hey Jim. Whatever happened to Tajae Sharpe? Is he still on the team?
Jim: Hey Randy. Yes he is – Tajae spent the 2017 on Injured Reserve, but he'll compete for a spot in training camp. I like his chances. And I heard Vrabel talking about the receivers moving forward this week, and he mentioned Sharpe.
Chris K from Brooklyn, New York
Question: Hey Jim. Great season some progress was made … I have a couple of question's I think the vrabel hire was really solid he looks to be accountable and honest won't sugarcoat anything from at least I got from press conference ..I think oc choice will be critical for him some were saying in Peter kings mmqb that he might be next cowher boy do i wish one thing tho I would of done at least try to call and sway James franklin from penn st but most likely wouldn't happen that he will leave but he is Tennessee native and was hc for Vanderbilt he is really solid was worth a shot atleast to reach out to him and I also I think my opinion was that everyone wanted McDaniels but I don't think Robinson wanted him even tho they have work together in New England cause he is to high strung and might want more power and Robinson is very serious about working together and and being on same page I think vrabel will cover all areas of football and be a leader and that if he hires a solid oc we willl be a good shape I think oc or qb coach has to work with mariota mechanics he was off last year with leg work I think the surgery was part of it and not 100 % healed and got into bad habits what do u think of that and i off with my assumption ?is it true he might need some clean up surgery on his fibula?thanks jimbo u are good on what you do let's have a good offseason titan up!!!
Jim: Hey Chris. Appreciate you sharing your thoughts here. But as far as the Titans swaying James Franklin to come back to Nashville to be an assistant coach, in my best Brooklyn voice: Fuhgettaboutit!
Alex McCormack from Madison, Alabama
Question: I just heard that Dick LeBeau will not be coming back as the defensive coordinator for the Titans. The defense will not be as good for this season coming up. I don't like the direction Jon Robinson is going with the Titans.
Jim: Hello again, Alex. What if I told you the team is thinking about signing Joe Namath?
Have a great weekend everyone!
Titans players take part in Pro Bowl practice on Thursday, Jan. 25, 2018 in Kissimmee, Fla. (Photos: Nate Bain)