LONDON – Well, the Titans made it across the pond, and it's almost time for another football game.
This is the first Titans mailbag coming to you from the United Kingdom.
Let's do it right…
Lukas Siefert from Hamburg, Germany
Question: Hey Jim. Appreciate you always taking the time to answer questions. I'm a long time Titans fan from Germany and I will be flying into London this weekend to watch my first ever NFL game, so I am super hyped! Onto my question: There's been a lot of negativity surrounding the Titans the last two weeks and some of it surely is warranted. I still haven't given up hope though! With that in mind, do you have any thoughts on the team's inconsistency? We've seen a lot of good and a lot of bad so far this season and it seems to me the only consistently good unit so far, has been the special teams. That can't all be growing pains, right?
Jim: Hey Lukas. Sunday should be a lot of fun. I'm looking forward to it as well. Some of it is growing pains with a new offense, and some of it is the team just hasn't played up to expectations the last two weeks. Giving up 11 sacks is inexcusable. And on defense, the team couldn't get off the field on third down. The team has proven it's capable – with the win over the Eagles serving as Exhibit A. But enough talking about it – it's time to show it again, right? Hopefully you'll see it come together at Wembley.
Simon Aston from Leeds, England
Question: Hi Jim, greetings from England! I came over to Nashville earlier this season to see the match against the Texans. We won, so I'm hoping that I'm a lucky charm for the team as I'm going to Wembley this Sunday to hopefully see the Titans beat the Chargers! By the way, I had a great time in Nashville at the game & met some fantastic people there. Having read your mailbag as always, it's clear that fans have been really unhappy for the last couple of weeks. I hope next week's mailbag is a bit more upbeat! My question is about London getting a franchise soon, are you for or against? How would Titans fans feel about coming across each year if it was to play the Jags? I'm really against it by the way, in my view the NFL is an American game which should be played in America & not have other countries in it. See you on Sunday, Titan Up!! Cheers, Simon.
Jim: Hey Simon. Glad you enjoyed Nashville. It's my hometown, and it's a great city. And now I'm looking forward to tomorrow's game at Wembley. I'm happy to be in the UK! I walked around the city until after 1 this morning and just was blown away by the beauty. It sure sounds like the Jaguars are poised to play more games in London. I can't say I'm 100 percent opposed to the idea of London getting a franchise, because I know fans there are passionate about the NFL and I feel the support would be great. And who wouldn't want to come here for a road trip every year? But I do know it's a lot of travel, and it's tough for players and coaches and teams with the week to week NFL schedule. Fortunately the Titans and Chargers both have byes after Sunday's game. I'll have a better feel following the completion of this trip, of course. I hear the atmosphere is going to be great at the stadium. Hope you see you at the game!
Ron Sweet from Henfield, United Kingdom
Question: Hi going to game on Sunday. Is the Nashville radio station 104.5 interviewing fans before the game on Wembley? It will be fun to meet Mike Keith having listened to him for many years. Thanks let's hope the offence turns up lol.
Jim: Hey Ron. The station was live from The Barrow Boy & Banker on Friday, and the crew will stick around for the game. I stopped by the pub last night myself, and it was packed with Titans fans. Mike Keith will be at the game, of course, but he's usually in the booth early preparing. Maybe you'll get lucky and run into him. I'll tell him to be on the lookout! And if you see me, give me a shout.
Steven Tilton from Safford, Arizona
Question: Hey Jim, thanks for the amazing dedication you give to us fans. It is a real treat to have such an involved writer keeping us in the loop. My question is regarding our current state of affairs. Last year our O-line and RBs did rather well, and this year it's been rather bad. I recognize part of this is the learning curve of a new offensive system, but I can't help but think that this new system does not use the strengths of our current player personnel. Our O-line was dominate as a punishing 'smashmouth' unit, but the new system seems to rely more on finesse? It just feels like the coaches are not utilizing our strengths, kind of like trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. Is this a valid point to think about or am I reaching for an explanation as to poor performance? Thank you for your time!
Jim: Appreciate it, Steven. Well, when it works like it's supposed to, it's supposed to look like the Rams. Obviously it's not there yet. Players are still adjusting to some of the changes, and things have looked out of sync on too many Sundays already. The "smashmouth" offense is a thing of the past, and the vision is for the offense to be more well-rounded, and balanced. But OC Matt LaFleur has said time and again running the football is a big priority for him. Again, some of it will take more time as players adjust, as it's not "there" yet.
Mario Delgado from Edinburg, Texas
Question: Hola Jim. I'm writing to you from the Rio Grande Valley from deep South Texas! I didn't really have much questions other than, if possible to let the boys (team) know that us fans haven't given up on them and still believe they can make a deep run in the playoffs. The Titan blue runs deep down here in Cowboy and Texans land. I don't believe they've given up not near to it, but to keep heads up and remember the Titan Pride! #TitanUp. Thanks for hearing me out.
Jim: Hey Mario. Thanks for jumping in!
Stacy Johnston from Chester, Virginia
Question: My husband has been a fan since he was little. Growing up in Texas and cheering for the Houston Oilers, following them to Tennessee. I have seen him anguish year after year as the Titans struggle. So excited and hopeful that "this year" will be different! This year NEVER comes. For some reason the owner won't spend the money to get the players they need or the coaches just refuse to call the plays they need to win a game. I watch my husband week after week beg the coaches to call the right plays! Stop losing the lead with conservative playing. Stop the two yard runs and throw the ball!!! I feel so sorry for him. The week or two they win he is beyond the moon and when they lose he is the epitome of frustration. I don't know what to tell him. How can you explain their game plan? It makes no sense. He has had a love-hate relationship with them for awhile but today as he sat on a plane traveling out of town for work he posted this. It's all very sad and I really feel like he deserves some answers. I believe all the fans deserve answers. He has been told he is not a "true" fan and I know it breaks his heart. He loves the Titans and I think that's why it's so hard to see them like this....and he feels helpless. Can you get some answers for him? If anything some closure would be nice.
Jim: Hey Stacy. Appreciate the email. This isn't a case of the owner not spending money. The team went out and got Dion Lewis and Malcolm Butler in free agency, among others, and the team made a run at Ndamukong Suh before he elected to sign with the Rams. As for the coaches, I always remember Jeff Fisher saying "We don't call plays thinking they're not going to work" when his play calls were questioned after, of course, they didn't work. Effort is being made. Yes, Sunday's game against the Ravens stunk, but the expectation is things will improve. Tell your husband to hang in there. Sorry to hear he's taking things so hard …
Paul Dobbs from Athens, Alabama
Question: Who came up with the "For the Boys" rally cry or whatever you call it? It needs to be done away with ASAP. The NFL is a league of GROWN MEN. Words have power and Sunday was a prime example of what happens when men who think of themselves as boys play against men who think of themselves as MEN!
Jim: Yeah, that's probably the reason the team lost to Baltimore…
Rick Pinkerton from Terryville, Connecticut
Question: Jim, I want to respond to the negative comments. First who feels the worst about these two games THE PLAYERS AND COACHES, and I have not seen that anywhere. We can be arm chair QBs but they are the ones who are really hurting. That said I believe that this next game in London will determine how the rest of the season will go. There can be no more I feel frustrated or whatever. That has been said the last 2 games. This in my opinion will be the coming out game for this team. WE will know Sunday if I am right. Also will they use the kid from the practice squad, Cameron Batson? He could be a weapon no one knows about. We are coming down for the Patriots game on Veterans Day. I would love to say hello to you. We have upper deck seats. Is there a way to come down before the game to say hello. Also when do the gates open? Could you recommend a tour of the area on Sat. We are staying downtown, near the stadium. Hope to see you
Jim: Hey Rick. Thanks for taking the time. Well, hope you're right about the coming-out game. Batson was active on Sunday, and he played one snap on special teams. I'm interested myself to see if he gets a bigger role. And this week the team brought receiver Devin Ross back, to the practice squad. He was good in camp. Give me a shout if you see me pregame – I'm usually on the field walking around roughly an hour beforehand. Gates open at 10 for the noon games at Nissan Stadium. If you're staying downtown, I'd hang out on Broadway. Try the brisket at Martin's BBQ. There's a ton going on there on the weekends. And follow me on Twitter if you don't already. I'm at @jwyattsports, and each Friday I tweet out what's going on in the city that weekend, along with top restaurants and bars. Hope you have a great time.
Mark McCullough from South Padre Island, Texas
Question: Mr. Jim. It was a horrible couple of weeks in football for me, (40 years with this club and my SOONERS loosing to that other team). I'm ready to taste a win and get back to watching these fellas grind as opposed to being ground down. It could be possible that too much was expected from a rookie coach and fist time play caller. We all saw the spark a couple weeks ago against the eagles so we know it is there. What is it going to take to make this team competitive? The Schedule over next few weeks looks tough. We r getting ready to play a Prime time game in the big D, Patriots, this London game worries me. All games the entire football world will be watching. I don't expect to win all games, but as a fan I would like to see my team b competitive. Sunday was anything but that. The season is 6 games down, and this team has not scored touchdowns in three of them. I live in Cowboy Country and if they beat us like the Ravens I'll never hear the end of it. Thanks again Jim, appreciate what ya do for team and fans alike... This team has been here before and going through the fire is never fun, but it sure looks good on the other side. TTITANS1111111111111!!!!!!
Jim: Hey Mark. Appreciate the email. Well, we'll just have to see what happens from here…
Mike Sorey from Medical Lake, Washington
Question: What's up Jim! All the fans talk about how disappointed they are recently with what's going on. Maybe their expectations are just too high? I've come to realize that this is just an average team playing average football. Win some, lose some. I mean when was the last time we were great? Maybe when the great McNair took us to the Super Bowl? Maybe these coaches are still figuring things out but how hard is it to realize that Henry is a horse that will wear down a defense. So many big runs in the 4th quarter last year. The guys who thought it was a good idea to start Murray over Henry are gone or maybe it's all on JRob? Give the biggest back in football 20 to 25 carries a game and use Lewis on third downs. What is so special about running back by committee?
Jim: Hey Mike. So far, I'd say it's an inconsistent team. Looked really good against the Eagles, looked awful vs. the Jaguars. I think if you look across the NFL, you'll see a lot of highs and lows as well. The hope is things will improve, and give itself a chance in December and then January.
Ricardo Gibbs from Miami, Florida
Question: Hey Jim. Long-time Titan fan here from Miami love your mailbag. .... Is there any way we can trade for Amari Cooper? I got an alert the Raiders have him on the trading block I'm guessing it wouldn't take more than a 2-3 rd pick which is great for a player of his talent considering we have a need for a position receiver who is great in and out of the cut like him who can work out the slot and complement Davis.
Jim: Hey Ricardo. I've been so focused on getting Dez, I haven't thought much about Cooper. … Just kidding. :)
I've actually read the Raiders are looking for a first-round pick for Cooper, and I can't see that happening.
Brad Gober from Magnolia, Texas
Question: How are ya doin Jim, I'm a diehard Titans fan, always have been and always will be. I even found ways to watch the games while I was in the Marine Corps and deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. My question is, how are you able to handle all these questions from the "couch owners" of the Titans demanding someone be let go all the time? I fully understand how disappointing these past two weeks have been, but I'm no fair weather fan. Everyone needs to take a deep breath, have some faith in our boys, and Titan Up!
Jim: Hey Brad. For starters, thanks for your service. Yeah, that Tuesday mailbag was rough, and some harsh ones continue roll in. I try and turn the page on the Saturday mailbag, since it's about time for another game. But I understand the frustration – things have looked bad the last two weeks. You should see some of the questions/emails that didn't make the cut this week because of the language. Oh my. … Have a good one…
Chadwick Dupree from Columbia, Missouri
Question: Hello Mr. Wyatt. I have a question about Marcus Mariota's throwing motion. I love Marcus - he is a stand-up person and has had some really inspiring moments as our QB...the win in KC last year was an all-time great Titans performance!
This year it looks like his ball throwing is off speed and his release looks really slow. Do you know if this is a symptom of his injury or maybe the new coaches have tried to modify his motion? I'm not very savvy to the finer details of football, but Marcus just looks off compared to the snappy throws of other QBs like Flacco or Watson. What's going on with our #1 player?
Jim: Hey Chadwisk. I'll be honest, I haven't noticed a change in his throwing motion from the past. I do think he's dealing with a few things that are different because of the injury from a feeling standpoint (he's still dealing with numbness in his fingers), but changing his motion wasn't in the works heading into the season. During the offseason, coaches worked on his base.
Michael Sauve from Kenai, Alaska
Question: Hi Jim. First time writing from Alaska! Yes there are Titans fans up here too. Thank you for all of the information you get out on the Titans for us fans. I have been a fan of the titans since 1999 and always will be. I am writing this after reading the Tuesday morning mail bag. I hear and see a lot of people doubting Mariota and the rest of the Titans offense. I admit there have been some bad disappointing games this season, and even the wins were nothing spectacular, but I have to say I saw this coming with the major coaching change and new scheme. I still think we could win the division and make the playoffs. The team just needs to limit the mistakes on both sides of the ball. I still have faith in Mariota I believe he will have a breakout game and will start improving week to week. We saw a glimpse during the philly game. I think this is one of the better rosters, than we have had in a while. If we get the running game going everything else will fall into place. We have talent in all positions and it will start to show soon. As for my question do you think a lot of the trouble the offense is having so far has to do with all of the roster changes due to injury? It seems like we haven't had a completely healthy offensive line all season. Do you think of the line gets healthy the team could turn things around and start to be an explosive team? Sorry for the long comment.
Jim: Hey Michael. Welcome in from Alaska! I also knew there would be some rough patches. Did I think they'd be as rough as last Sunday? No. But I also know this team has potential – we saw it vs the Eagles. The running game definitely needs to get going. Too much talent there to not be effective. I think the team is missing Delanie Walker a lot, and others are going to have to step up. The offensive line should be back at full strength on Sunday (Quinton Spain practiced Friday, and is still a bit of a question mark,). But the group was at full strength on Sunday, too, and we saw the 11 sacks. I do think the group will improve, and is better than what we saw vs the Ravens. LaFleur said at the beginning of the season he expects things to look smoother in the latter part of the season compared to the start. I think we'll see more consistency in time.
Jon Cowart from Memphis, Tennessee
Question: Hey Jim. I've been a big Titans fan since they moved to Nashville and live and breathe two tone blue. I was in KC last year to watch our epic comeback, and I walked away from Arrowhead Stadium so proud of our team and excited for our future. I loved Mularkey and for better or for worse, we had an identity with him at the helm. These past 2 weeks, we have looked lifeless, listless, and lethargic to the point of being downright embarrassing. How do we find an identity? What are Vrabel and Lafleur trying to do?
Jim: Hey Jon. Right now, the team doesn't have an identity on offense, not after being held without a touchdown two weeks in a row, and three times in six games. I know LaFleur is looking for a balanced attack, with the running game and throwing the football. But the Titans can't hang their helmets on anything yet.
Nathan Hird from Battle Creek, Michigan
Question: Hey Jim thanks for all the hard work you do for us fans! It's greatly appreciated especially for us out of state fans! Here is my quick question. When is the last time the Titans have had a quarterback play a full 16 games season without missing a single snap?
I feel like I've been watching backup multiple qbs play for the last 15 years lol. Maybe it was Collins in 2008 but I feel like he missed some time. It's frustrating to have to pay for Directv every year to watch the Titans and end up watching 2-3 qbs play every year. Don't get wrong I still love my Titans! Just frustrated and needed to vent to someone who understands my pain.
Jim: Hey Nathan. Good question. In franchise history, I actually don't think a starting QB has ever played all 16 games without ever missing a snap, partly because teams have played back-ups in certain situations, like blowouts, or maybe a gadget play or something. I can tell you the last time a QB started 16 games was Matt Hasselbeck in 2011. Jake Locker came off the bench on a couple of games that season.
John Williams from Danbury, Texas
Question: Hello, Jim. I have a couple of points of interest to present, if I may. I've read all of the Tuesday posts and would say that I agree, primarily; however, I remember many years ago when the Oilers went 1 – 4 and the season began to look dismal. Mr. Adams was disgusted and gave a fiery speech in the locker room – the media along with disappointed fans understood it was a win or you're gone type of speech. Our Oilers won the next 10 in a row. I do believe we went to the playoffs that year, to wit, two ugly losses does not a season make.
Furthermore, I've always had an interest in statistical analysis, although, due to my dislike of math - not a career pursuit. Regarding such analysis in our team's current position, and my thesis; to study and crunch the numbers of NFL quarterbacks who started as rookies compared to those who had an opportunity to learn their trade for a bit of time behind a starting QB. The next variable would be the stability of the coaching staff actually questioning how many OC's a team goes through during the QB's career. The end result of my thesis would prove the obvious detriment to most NFL teams with a coaching carousel leaving many such QB's unsuccessful throughout their entire career - conversely the more successful teams having fewer coaching changes - especially OC's, and the subsequent success of the QB.
Case in point:
Gabbert 7 years in the league with 7 OC's Record: 13-34-0 (starter as rookie)
Mariota 4 years in the league with 4 OC's Record: 21-25-0 (starter as rookie)
McNair 12 years in the league with 4 OC's Record: 91-62-0 (3 years before starting)
Brady 18 years in the league with 4 OC's Record: 200-57-0 (2 years before starting)
There are countless variables and the algorithm to prove such a thesis most likely several pages long. Do you concur with the premise of my post? May the ball bounce our way in London. TitanUp!
Jim: Hey John. Great research, and info. Great points. Going to just leave this here as we close this mailbag out.
Have a great weekend everyone!
The Tennessee Titans (3-3) travel to London this week to face the Los Angeles Chargers (4-2) Sunday at Wembley Stadium (8:30 a.m., CT).