NASHVILLE, Tenn. – One preseason game down, three to go.
Then, it's time for the regular season for the Tennessee Titans.
But first things first. It's time for another mailbag ….
Cory Westerbeck from Chattanooga, Tennessee
Question: Jim, thank you for keeping all of the die-hard Titans fans up-to-date! It was awesome to see the new uniforms on the field for the first time. They look better to me now than ever. I'm wondering what the plastic film is all about on some of players' helmets though. I imagine it is to protect the paint and make the helmets easier to clean up, but it looks terrible. It seems like they could have done a much better job fitting the plastic so that it didn't look like they were still in shipment packaging.
Jim: Hey Cory. Man, this was a popular topic on my Twitter feed during the game. Here's the lowdown: It's called a gouge guard, and the equipment guys use it to protect the helmets in OTA, minicamps and training camp. It's a decal, but clear. And believe it or not, the team also used them with the white helmets, it just wasn't as noticeable. It keeps the helmets cleaner, and keeps them from getting so banged up with scratches and scuffs. Don't worry, when the regular season rolls around they won't be used any more. And the blue helmets will really pop then – in more ways than one.
Darin Finkelstein from Chatham, New Jersey
Question: Hey Jim. Really enjoying the coverage of training camp. Seems like there is more information than ever for Titans fans to feel part of the team. Thank you! As training camp progresses are you seeing Marcus Mariota move through his reads faster and making quicker decisions? Understand he needs to gain a comfort level with the new offense but curious to hear if you are seeing progress. Have a great week!
Jim: Hey Darin. Well, he's made progress. And we saw a good look at that in the preseason opener at Green Bay, and during the course of the preseason we'll see more. I can tell you I've seen a lot of improvement since OTAs, and since the beginning of training camp. Sure, the defense has won the day on a lot of days, but I'm giving a lot of the credit to an improved defense for that. Plus, it has taken time for Mariota and the offense to get used to a lot of the changes. Things aren't where they need to be yet, and there will be some growing pains. We've seen some of that in practices. But there's no doubt Mariota is getting quicker with his decision making and he's looking more and more comfortable each week.
James Morrison from Amarillo, Texas
Question: Hello Jim. Second time writing in. All the talk seems to be about Khalil Mack and I'm just wondering if we are going to make any moves in an attempt to get him? He imo would put our defense even above the Jags, which could send us to the Super Bowl! Thank you for taking the time to answer us as always.
Jim: Well James. First off, I'd be shocked if the Raiders traded Mack. Secondly, the GM doesn't share that kind of info with me. And while I've seen some of the buzz surrounding Mack, I haven't seen him linked to the Titans. And I'd be surprised if I did at this point. The Titans drafted Harold Landry to be an impact edge rushers for years to come, and veterans Derrick Morgan and Brian Orakpo have been a nice tandem in recent years. Sure, Jon Robinson is always looking for ways to upgrade the roster, but I'm sure the price on Mack would be a hefty one. And if I'm the Raiders, I sure wouldn't trade him.
David Johnson from McKenzie, Tennessee
Question: I followed you faithfully when you were at The Tennessean and have continued now that you are with the Titans. I don't have a question as much as a complaint, why do you (and other writers) always refer to players by their Twitter handle when sending out tweets about the team. I honestly have no idea which player you are referring to when Twitter handles are used. In spite of my complaint, I think you do an outstanding job covering the team.
Jim: Hey David. Appreciate the feedback. I've gotten into a habit of using the Twitter handles because I think players appreciate seeing what's written about them, good or bad. I've actually had players tell me they wanted to be tagged in posts. I know some of them are easier to figure out that others based on the Twitter names. But as you know, all it takes is hitting the @Twittername and it tells you who the person is. I will keep it in mind, though, and when space permits - or when a guy's Twitter handle is out there - I'll do both more regularly.
Ryan Robertson from Kuna, Idaho
Question: Hey Jim I'm a HUUUGE FAN, What do you think are chances are to get back to playoffs. I think I am the only Titan Fan in Idaho. Let those guys know I am out here in the middle of know where rooting em on. GO TITANS BEAT those Jaquars.
Jim: Hey Ryan. Well, some things will need to come together. I think the expectations are high, but the division is much-improved compared to years gone by. I know the Titans swept the Jaguars last year, but Jacksonville is good. They had the Patriots beat and let the AFC title game escape their grasp in the fourth quarter in New England. I saw the Texans put up a 50-spot on the Titans last year when Deshaun Watson was in the lineup, and he's back. The Colts are a different team with Andrew Luck, who is also back. So while the Titans have the potential to make it back and advance further, it's not going to be easy. The team is going to need to stay healthy, and it's going to need to win close games.
Samuel Iondon from Columbia, Tennessee
Question: Hey Jim. Should one be concerned with the numerous near interceptions of my QB you mention during camp or is our defense that great? Thanks.
Jim: I remember Mariota's rookie year, when he went 230 consecutive passes without throwing an INT in training camp. He hasn't had that streak this year, and I think there are some reasons behind it. For starters, the secondary is a lot better, really top-notch, despite some shaky moments against the Packers. And I think Mariota has been putting the ball out there for receivers to make plays. Plus, we can't ignore the fact he's still getting used to a new offensive scheme. I know that's a lot of excuses, but it's one way of saying I wouldn't be too concerned.
Greg Wilson from Cleveland, Tennessee
Question: Hey Jim, I'm a big fan of yours and an even bigger fan of the Titans. My question is concerning Rashaan Evans. I was thrilled when we drafted him. I'm really concerned about the fact that he has missed all of training camp. Can you give us an idea of what his condition is? Thanks and keep up the great work.
Jim: Hey Greg. I appreciate it. In my old job at The Tennessean, my mission would've been to find out, and tell you. Now with the team, I'm deferring to the head coach on how he handles injures, and he hasn't said anything publicly about Evans at this point. I was there the day Evans left the practice field, and watched him walk off. Evans didn't travel to Green Bay, so we'll have to wait and see how things play out moving forward.
Mojo Kanoa from Mililani, Hawaii
Question: Aloha Jim! I was wondering if you could put in a good word for us Titans fans out here in Hawaii. Since, Hawaiian Airlines is Hawaii's very own major airline, do you think you could talk to Amy Adams Strunk and ask to make some kind of deal with Hawaiian Airlines to have a direct flight from Honolulu, Hawaii to Nashville, Tennessee during football season? I believe if that were to happen, you'll see a lot more Titans fans filling Nissan Stadium! Let's keep our fingers crossed! TitanUp Yo! Mahalo!!
Jim: Aloha Mojo. Sounds like a great idea. Amy has some pull, but not sure about her connections with Hawaiian Airlines. I'd love to see a great deal with cheap direct flights to Hawaii myself!
Buck Amodei from Grass Valley, California
Question: Hi Jim. I have one question for you about training camp and a couple of quick, random questions as well. Oddly, my question is not about a player, but just a lowly position coach.Kerry Coombs> Now that he is an unmistakeable personality on the practice field, I want to reflect back and ask if Apple, Lattimore, Conley, Ward, Malik Hooker and Vonn Bell all being so highly sought out of Ohio State in just the past 3 years had much to do with Coombs or if Ohio State just had more talent at DB to begin with. If Coombs played a big role in their development, it could be a sign of things to come for our secondary. What are your thoughts? Bradley Roby was another Ohio State CB to come out a year or two prior to Apple. That's a lot of top draft picks at one position for one college in just a few short years.Random Q's > The NFL's top 100 list came out again... and while all that stuff is trivial, it is interesting to see who other players vote for. I recall that four Titans players made the list (average team would have only three) There was one odd omission. I know Marcus Mariota had a tough statistical season in 2017, but did Barry Church forget to cast his vote? Did you watch the Wild Card game? Mariota not being among the top 100 players is a bit of a snub. Deshaun Watson made the list after a handful of impressive games. >>> Brynden Trawick... How does he log more non-ST snaps during the Pro Bowl than he did all of 2017 (4 snaps per PFF) Could he or Reed find some niche role in Nickel or Dime packages?Thanks Jim. I enjoy reading your articles and all of your input from a location closer to the team than most of us fans can experience.
Jim: Hey Buck. Kerry Coombs is fun to watch. He brings energy, and the guys love him. And he definitely has a great track record for helping guys reach great success. The top 100 list is fun and all, but the postseason lists are much more important. As for Trawick, he was signed to help on special teams and he was great on teams a year ago. But right now Trawick and Reed have some other guys ahead of them in situational packages.
Rio Rozay from Washington, D.C
Question: Which will be the default Home & Road uniforms? Because the all navy set is by far my favorite and would love to see those in the Super Bowl!
Jim: The navy blues are the primary home uniforms, and the white ones are the primary road unis. But they're not locked into that. I expect the team to wear white at home early in the season like previous years because of the heat. Also, the light blue unis are an option for several games this year as well.
Gilbert Moore from Pasadena, California
Question: Hey Jim this is Gill from out west diehard titan/Laker fan Believe it or not these two teams have a lot of similarities both teams were on the bottom of there. League for a couple years in a row The Titans was handed over to Amy and the Lakers were handed over to Jeanie Buss -- two very strong-minded women. They both had to make hard decisions and Decided to clean house and now both teams are on the upward swing Jeanie gets a lot of credit nationwide but I don't think Amy gets as much credit as she deserves for the wonderful job she has done? Do you think Amy and Jeanie know each other and do you see the same similarities that I see hope to hear from you soon TITAN UP
Jim: Hey Gilbert. Some interesting perspective there. I'll have to ask Amy the next time I see her, but I see where you're coming from.
June Stevens from Nashville, Tennessee
Question: We are going to London to see the Titans play in October. We've already got our tickets, hotel. Flights, etc. Will there be a pep rally, Tailgate, etc? Thanks so much.
Jim: Hey June. I think some things may be in the works, but probably won't know until closer to time. I've heard some chatter from the guys at 104.5-FM in Nashville, who helped gather folks for events prior to last year's playoff games at Kansas City and New England, so it's at least being talked about. Check back closer to October.
Justice Robinson from Baltimore, Maryland
Question: How is the defense coming along? With new defensive coordinator Dean Pees. Is there any changes now with dean press as the defensive coordinator?
Jim: Hey Justice. The defense has looked great. It's been the strength of the team so far in camp. Yeah, I know it gave up an early score and the Packers move the ball against reserves, but keep in mind the Titans didn't game plan, or give much away as far as pressures and different looks. Coach Pees and his players keep talking about plans to "attack, attack, attack" but we probably won't get real clues until regular season games start in September. But I'm expecting the defense to be aggressive.
Tyler Ebert from Hanover, Pennsylvania
Question: Hey Jim. First of all, absolutely fantastic job with the Ask Jim section. I look forward to reading through any that are posted. Otherwise, I have been a die-hard titans fan since the titans came onto the scene. I was pretty young at the time, but I vividly remember watching the "Dream Team" in complete awe and thinking, "Who wouldn't love the Titans?!"Anyway, being that I have lived in PA/MD my entire life, watching these games is AN ABSOLUTE NIGHTMARE. The only ways to watch is: hope they play a local team, go to a bar, watch play-by-play online, or hope that your "eligible" for DirecTV. Long story short, my house is not eligible and I do not want to put a dish on my house. And since DirecTV has a monopoly on the NFL, guess who can't watch all Titans games from his couch. This guy, along with what I assume is thousands of other people across the country. MAXIMUM AGGRAVATION. Do you/anyone know how I can watch ALL Titans games throughout the season?BTW - Regular Season Prediction = 11-5 (I'll see you all in Nashville for the Pats game!)Thank you and.... TITAN-UP!
Jim: Appreciate it Tyler. You're not going to want to hear this, but DirecTV is your best option. I know FOX and CBS allow local fans to stream broadcasts, but that won't help you wanting to see the Titans. NFL Game Pass allows you to watch live out-of-market preseason games, and a replay every game of the season, but I know you're looking for live broadcasts. Some good news: two of the games are on ESPN (at Dallas on MNF, at Houston on MNF) and the Jaguars game on Thursday, December 6 is a FOX/NFL Network national game.
Lee Swain from Joelton, Tennessee
Question: My unsolicited nickname for Titans' RB duo ... Derrick DOUBLE DEUCE and Dion DOUBLE TREY / Double Trouble All Day. 2) I am continually frustrated by Titans' fan base general .. uh .. unawareness of the background of the teams Name .... The TITANS were the descendants of Uranus the God of the sky and heavens and Gaia, mother earth Goddess....six each female and male NONE of which had any association with a sword or NEED for a sword since they were Deities. The Titans were the parents of the Olympians, the Greek gods and goddesses such as Zeus, Hera, Ares, Athena, etc. … The seeming fascination of many Titan fans with the sword logo has NO basis in the Titans myths. And the sword was NOT even the primary weapon of the Greek Warrior, it was the Spear... the dory of the Spartan warriors being the most famous and very long spears were the primary weapon of Alexander the Great's powerful phalanx battle formation. …I realize this is a small FACT ..... but associating the TITANS with a SWORD is like talking about Davy Crockett and his six shooter ...it is just not historically accurate.
Jim: Hey Lee. Thanks for taking the time, and the nickname suggestions. Join the club. As for your history lesson, I feel smarter after reading this. I think.
Have a great weekend everyone!
The Tennessee Titans open the 2018 preseason against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. (Photos: Donn Jones, AP)
The Titans prepare to take on the Green Bay Packers in the preseason opener for both teams Thursday night at Lambeau Field. (Photos: Donn Jones, AP)