INDIANAPOLIS – Hello from the NFL Combine.
I just knocked out the bench press, and I'm headed to Lucas Oil Stadium to run the 40. This could be ugly.
I'm hoping I can skip the Wonderlic – now that could really be embarrassing!
While in between drills, I knocked out this mailbag in record time. We're kicking it off with some coyote talk ...
Gia Garnet from Odessa, Texas
Question: Have you seen the video on ESPN's SportsNation that shows Center Ben Jones sneaking up on and then attacking a coyote who was doing nothing but standing there, looking the other way, and who appeared to be starving to death? My heart breaks that so many men/athletes think harming helpless animals is macho, funny, courageous, clever and shows how tough and smart and powerful they are. Why would anyone be proud of such callous behavior? Why does Jones, who is 6'3" and weighs 308 pounds, believe he has the right to hurt any kind of animal for no reason? That coyote might have been 20-25 pounds and didn't even see that he was about to be attacked for Jones' fun. It's animal abuse, which brings me much sadness and tears.
Jim: *Hey, Gia. Yeah, I saw it. I'm going to share something with you that will instead make you laugh. The coyote you saw on the video wasn't real. It's a decoy used to keep the geese from landing on the practice fields, where they used to make a big mess. Two of them are regularly placed on the practice fields. They've been moved around on the fields for the past year or so. If you google coyote replicas you'll see what I'm talking about. Ben was just having a little fun. So now you can watch the video again when you're looking for comic relief. The video you really need to see is the one of Ben tackling the Grizzly bear that wandered onto the practice field last week ... *
Jim Beckner from Nashville, Tennessee
Question: What did Ben Jones do with the coyote after tackling it? Any tape of it?
Jim: He stood it back up. The tape probably wouldn't have been too exciting.
Rusty Shackleford from Nashville Tennessee
Question: Jim. Season ticket member here, never missed a game.... and there is something I've been wondering... The home games have clearly lost some steam over the past few years and one of the things missing is a "Titans cheer"... I went to KC this year, they have the tomahawk.... I watched the Eagles games, enough said.... I mean, just listen to what the Preds have!! And we're trying for "UGH UGH UGH" after every first!? What happened to the classic!? "Bum bum ba da bum bum... GO TITANS GO!!!" It just went away!? You still hear it in the stadium now and then, yelled by a long-time fan (myself included) and the. "GO TITANS GO" always comes out! If you play The Madden video game, even the newest version, you can hear it in the background at a Titans home game!..... This is just a suggestion from a fan since day one... BRING IT BACK!!! We need it!! I'm all about progression and new... but this is the NFL, it's a classic league, and holding on to tradition is what endears a team to its city and a city to its team! We're a young team, and we're already changing uniforms.... let's hold to some things! Johnny Cash in the 4th, "The Pain Train WOO WOO!", "GO TITANS GO!".... Any powder blue blooded fan would have to agree.... Titan Up!
P.S.... just really hoping we do this uniform change right... we have a classic logo and our colors are our roots... fingers crossed!
Jim: Hey Rusty. I'm going to leave this suggestion in here. Maybe it will start a movement!
Buck Amodei from Grass Valley, California
Question: Hi Jim. I've been following this franchise since 1978, and there have been plenty of highs and lows in that time. Things are looking up of late... as we all know. I have a billion questions, but I'll try and limit it to three (plus follow up Qs)... all regarding impending free agency and the draft.
1. Is Quinton Spain a good fit in the new zone blocking scheme we will be switching to? .. and if not... what is the best option here? I am sure we tender him a 2nd round contract as RFA (maybe even 1st if the coaches are really high on him) but I'm wondering if his talents are best served in a power run scheme, like Dallas.
2. How much of a priority is finding a three down ILB in your opinion? ... or perhaps one is already in house if Jayon Brown works at being a better run defender. I would like us to bring back Williamson... if the price is right... as run thumpers usually don't fetch big money. Perhaps coach Pees can utilize Williamson differently. Thoughts please...
3. Is bringing back Erik Decker the best option at WR for us? I'd like to think it would be best to build on what offensive weapons we have now, rather than chasing more expensive weapons (Landry, Watkins) as the best option. What say you? ... do we bring in another guy who wants even more targets in the pass game... or utilize Davis and Taylor and all of our WRs more often? My thoughts are that Decker in the slot is almost like another TE if we run a spread offense and run it his direction often (I also think Henry is better suited in a spread offense, where the field isn't congested with big bodies)
I see EDGE, OG/C and 3 down ILB as the big three needs... and Harold Landry, Isaiah Wynn and Rashaan Evans as the best available at each position by the time we get to #25 in the draft. Depending on who we fill in FA of course... I'm really hedging on Landry or Wynn if we stick at #25.
Thank you for all you do for this team and for reading. I hope to hear your thoughts on these topics.
Jim: Hey Buck. I'm going to fly through these. Well, I think Spain is capable, but I think the change fits Josh Kline even better. He's scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent, but the bet here is the team will try and keep him. We'll see how it plays out. Spain is a restricted free agent, so the team has more control of his fate. The draft is loaded with interior linemen as well. I think ILB will have to be addressed at some point, possibly in the near future. Avery Williamson has been a productive and reliable pro, and I think the team will try and keep him as well. Wesley Woodyard is coming off an incredible year, and I'm a big Jayon Brown fan myself. But I also realize some things have to be sorted out here, and there's a lot TBD. Wesley is still playng at a high level but he isn't getting any younger, so when you look a few years down the road you have to wonder about things. When I look at receiver, I expect Corey Davis, Rishard Matthews, Tajae Sharpe and Taywan Taylor to be a big part of things in 2018, with more pieces added. I'm thinking they'll come in the form of free agents and draft picks, but not completely ruling anything out. I agree with you on some of the needs, but they could be filled in free agency and/or draft.
Brooks Severson Wayne, Pennsylvania
Question: Hello Jim! I have always been appreciative of how in touch you are with our fans. My question involves uniforms for next season. I'm not asking about what the new uniforms look like for next year, but in terms of us wearing throwback uniforms sometime in the near future. I see many franchises wearing throwback uniforms every so often and am curious if we have a plan in place regarding them? I mean come on, we have arguably the best looking throwback Oiler uniforms, whether it's the old powder blues with the powder blue helmets, or if it's the powder blues with the white helmets from the Luv Ya Blue era. Anywho, will we see something like that next year? Thanks Jim!
Jim: Hey Brooks. I appreciate it. I like those unis, too. I can't really say anything about the uniforms at this point. I'm sure I'll use this line again, but I plead the 5th until the 4th – April 4th, when the uniforms are unveiled. At that point I might be able to shed more light on the threads moving forward. Have a good one.
Haider Naqvi from Goodlettsville,Tennessee
Question: Hey Jim! You do a great job keeping us updated about our Titans! So thank you so much for that. Besides the way my question for you is who do u think is better Corey Davis or Rishard Matthews?
Jim: Hey Haider. Thanks for the question, but I don't think it's a fair one at this point. Rishard is a veteran, and Corey is just coming off his rookie season. So Rishard is more polished at this point, and Corey is coming off a season when he dealt with injuries and some growing pains. But I'll say this: I think Corey Davis is going to be a special player. He's incredibly talented.
Romeo Ford from Columbia, South Carolina
Question: Hey Jim! I just don't understand why Mel Kiper saying that Titans would talk about drafting a running back in the 1st round. The question is why? To me I think Titans need to draft an edge rusher because nobody on the defensive line is busting through the line. I just need to understand.
Jim: Hey Romeo. It's early. The draft is still a few weeks away. He's projected a running back to the Titans because he anticipates it will be a need. Mock drafts are fun – I like to check them out, too. But personally, I think they're kind of a waste before free agency begins. The drafts analysts are filling them out largely based on what teams need. When free agency starts, needs change. And so will the mock drafts.
J Williams from Angleton, Texas
Question: Greetings, Jim: I am thinking we have a fine bevy of receivers - 3 older vets/3 younger. I feel these guys are possibly as capable as the run and shoot days and surely we are constructing the offense to beat 3 specific defenses. Do you think that the 3 younger guys will be hampered by a new OC and scheme causing a bit of arrested development? Also, any possibility of knowing if the draft will lean O or D? I know, a bit premature but it's the dry stretch. Lol. Keep it coming J.
Jim: Hey J. I mentioned this to Buck: I'm counting to Corey Davis, Rishard Matthews, Tajae Sharpe and Taywan Taylor moving forward, with others TBD. And there will be more. I think all of those guys will have a chance to shine in a new offense. As for whether the team will lean on offense or defense in the draft, well, let's see what happens in free agency first.
Have a great weekend everyone! And keep an eye out for Ben Jones crawling in your back yard …
Titans GM Jon Robinson and new head coach Mike Vrabel make media rounds at the 2018 NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. (Photos: Gary Glenn)