NASHVILLE, Tenn. – It's now mid-July, and we're closing in on Titans training camp.
The start of another mailbag, however, begins now…
Let's do this …
Roger Rock from Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Question: I'm curious: How have the pros have taken to secondary coach Kerry Coombs? Specifically, the more seasoned players. His style and attitude were amazing at OSU - is it translating well? Related (via Coombs/OSU): Realistically, do you think Damon Webb will make the 53 man roster?
Jim: It's been an adjustment for some of them, that's for sure. Coombs is an in-your-face guy, as you know. He yells, screams, and bounces around the practice field. He reminds me of former Titans defensive line coach Jim Washburn with his volume level. But Kerry is also an encourager, and he wants the best out of his players, and they know it. If guys think he'll make them better, they'll listen, and perform for him. And I already get the sense they respect him. But the key is he respects the vets as well. He knows they've worked hard to get where they are, and he's not going to yell at them just for show. There's mutual respect, so that makes it work. As for Webb, he has his work cut out for him. Some more experienced players are competing in front of him.
Jesse Johnson from Woodbury, Tennessee
Question: Hey Jim do you think Logan Ryan is a lock to play the slot corner position? Is there a competition at punt and kick returner with Adoree Jackson, Michael Campanaro, and Dion Lewis? And do you think theres a good chance a veteran gets added before or during training camp?
Jim: Hey Jesse. Well, I think he's definitely capable. It's where he's excelled during his playing career, and I expect him to get work there. But with Malcolm Butler and Adoree' Jackson, the team has options as well. The team can move those guys around, too. As for punt and kick returner, there will be competition. In addition to Jackson, Campanaro and Lewis, look for guys like Akrum Wadley and Rico Gafford to be in the mix in training camp as well. After playing so many snaps last year, it wouldn't surprise me if Jackson doesn't end up back there at kick returner, but we'll see ...
Kristi Mahi from Lihue, Hawaii
Question: I apologize in advance as this has nothing to do with the game. My 5 year old is the hugest Marcus Mariota fan. We are going to be in Nashville next month and are taking him to the game on August 18th. Do the players do any autograph sessions or is there a best way to try to meet Marcus or even just to let him know we're there? Thank you for any assistance.
Jim: Aloha Kristi. Your best bet to get Mariota will probably be after a training camp practice that week, if you're coming that early. He oftentimes signs for a group of youngsters after practices. The team practices with the Buccaneers on August 15 and 16 of that week, so it will be worth seeing. Game days are tougher, I must admit. Guys are in game-day, preparation mode, and there's not a set time for them to sign. Some guys do end up stopping as they head into the tunnel early in warmups or after the game, but it's hit-and-miss and it's tough. Good luck!
Marquitis Cross from Colorado Springs, Colorado
Question: Hey Jim, I was wondering if the Titans will have any open practices for the fans this year and if so what dates? I'm coming back home for a family reunion July 27 and I leave the following Tuesday and hoping my kids and I catch a practice and get some autographs. I know it would be great experience for the kids!
Jim: Hey Marquitis. The schedule was released this week. You're in luck. The team is scheduled to practice the 27th, 28th and 29th and 30th – from 9:50-noon each day – at Saint Thomas Sports Park. See ya out there!
Jesse Hernandez from Nashville, Tennessee
Question: Hello Jim, my Wife and I will be going to the Monday night game in Dallas my little sister lives there she and her husband are big Cowboy fans BOOOOOOO my question is what jersey will the TITANS be wearing so that I will have the same colors as they will also I will have an excuse to buy a new jersey thank you for your time and Go Titans Go.
Jim: Hey Jesse. I haven't seen the jersey schedule yet. But keep in mind the Cowboys usually where white at home, so the Titans will likely be in navy or light blue. Follow me on Twitter (@jwyattsports) if you don't already. I tweet out the jersey colors for the week leading up to each game.
Derrick Backen from Wyoming
Question: Hey Jim. Diehard Titans fan for about 20+yrs all the way up in Wyoming. I am planning on spending my 30th birthday at Nashville watching my Titans. I was wondering since I never been there is there any suggestions on where to get seats at Nissan Stadium? Thanks Jim
Jim: Well, Derrick, the lower bowl seats get you closest to the action. If you want to be close to where the team comes out of the tunnel, go for seats in the lower part of sections 141 and 143. You'll be behind the team in sections 132-138.
Anthony Houts from Clarksville, Tennessee
Question: Hey Jim. I'm a Packers fan and have recently moved to the area. I'm looking at having the Titans be at least my AFC Team. So what should I know? It looks like the Titans are thin on WR's, is that the case? How much does this team rely on the pass compared to the run and is that looking to change in favor of the pass? Most importantly, where can I tail-gate in the Nashville area?
Jim: Welcome aboard Anthony! The Titans have talent at the receiver position, but the team is young there. After veteran Rishard Matthews, the guys they are really counting on – Corey Davis, Tajae Sharpe, and Taywan Taylor – all have just one season of experience. I think you'll see them mix the run and pass pretty well. The team is really talented at running back with Derrick Henry and Dion Lewis. As for tailgate areas, you'll find action surrounding the stadium, and game day events that began a few hour before kickoff each week.
Eli Decko from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Question: Since you get to see the guys much more than we do are you able to shed any light on the UDFA Rookies you believe will make the 53 and practice squad? I want to see Burnett and the safety from OSU make it for sure. Wadley is a very intriguing prospect to me especially if he can pick up pass protection fast. My second question is related to Marcus, big surprise right lol. Widening his base, rolling him out more, and having a healthy off season are all big things for Marcus. I believe all for the better, have you personally noticed Marcus improving/ becoming more confident with these changes? So much hinges on him and I love MM, but to finally get Oregon Ducks Mariota is something I think the whole NFL has been waiting for. Imagine the torch being passed from Brady to Mariota!!!!
Jim: Hey Eli. Burnett has his work cut out for him. Yes, he's talented, but undrafted receivers Jordan Veasy and Devin Ross have actually impressed me even more so far. Wadley is a contender, no doubt, and so is Sharif Finch, an undrafted outside linebacker from Temple. As far as Marcus goes, he's a work in progress. He's looked good, but he's also working through a lot of changes around him as well.
Will Weppler from Iowa
Question: Hi Jim! I have a question about visiting Nissan Stadium during the offseason. Me and a group of friends will be at training camp in August and we're curious if there are any tours of Nissan stadium available?
Jim: Hey Will. Asked around, and got this answer: "Not currently. And, not by August. But, look for exciting news regarding tours in the near future." Sorry it won't work for your timetable, but sounds like something's brewing to make stadium tours happen.
Hal Reddoch from Huntsville, Alabama
Question: Hey Jim. Appreciate all the hard work you and the team put in on keeping us abreast of the latest Titans info. My question is about the O line. I want to feel confident about them going into this season but based on their drop off from 2016 to 2017 and new coaching/ scheme it's kinda hard to do. Do you think they are going to adapt well to the zone blocking schemes? I heard you mention in a post last week that you didn't think Kline was a good fit for it. Would hate to see Marcus taking unnecessary hits out there and possibly getting injured again. Hopefully Henry and Lewis will step up and provide the help in pass protection as well. Thanks.
Jim: Hey Hal. I touched a little but with Robbert from Boise last week. The o-line is adjusting. Training camp is going to be huge in the development of the group. This offseason I've seen a whole lot of moving parts with Jack Conklin out and Taylor Lewan missing time during June. It's forced other guys to move around to different positions. Ben Jones has been solid inside at center, and I think Spain has had a solid offseason, but he's going to have to hold some other guys off. Kevin Pamphile, formerly with the Buccaneers, has really impressed me. He can play guard, but if Conklin is not ready he could be needed at tackle. Cody Wichman has come on at guard at well, so keep an eye on him in the competition. And when speaking of Kline, I actually said I think the new system is a good fit for him.
Rick Smith from Union, Kentucky
Question: Jim, First off being in Northern Ky I am in Bengal country so reading your Mailbags keeps me going and you do an excellent job, Thank You. I have been a fan since day one, heard all the same questions and answers from Players and Coaches over the years. This year though seems very different (my wife say's I say that every year) but there really seems to be a different feel for the Titans this year. I feel watching interviews that everyone truly believes and not just answering from a script. Since you get the pleasure of being around them every day what is your take of the Titans this year over the past several years. Thanks, Jim
Jim: Thanks Rick. There's definitely a different feel, from the coaches and players. Mike Vrabel is a no-nonsense coach, and he expects things to be done right. Players respect him because of his track record, and success in the league. Coming off a season when the team made it to the playoffs and won a game, guys are hungry for more. Adding vets like Malcolm Butler and Dion Lewis, who enjoyed success with the Patriots, helps. Those guys arrived with some moxie. Still, the team needs to get out of the gate strong. If that happens, the confidence will grow even more.
Ronald Sanderfer from Nashville, Tennessee
Question: Has the Titans thought about bringing back the Code Blue back again to bring the noise back into stadium? The Houston Texans game last year was very close to the noise level where we need to be at. If I remembered correctly we caused the Texans left tackle to false start 3 times. Thanks Jim
Jim: Code Blue. Man, those were fun. I've asked around. Been told there will be some game day initiatives, although they may not be specifically called "Code Blue." Stay tuned.
Have a great weekend everyone!