NASHVILLE, Tenn. – One quarter of the season down, three more to go.
And, if all goes well, the postseason.
But let's not get ahead of ourselves when discussing this already exciting Titans season.
It's time for another Titans mailbag …
Dmitry Krader from Irvine, California
Question: Hi Jim. This is my first time writing so I'll make it nice and short. I am sure you've been getting a lot of questions about Derrick Henry, as do I. I've seen him play last few years and through this quarter of season. It looks to me that he doesn't have the urgency and aggression so far this season. Could it be because he is uncomfortable in the new system? He's more of a north south type of player or so does his physic suggest, maybe the spread system is just something he is not used to? Thanks again! I am looking forward to the beat down of Buffalo.
Jim: Hey Dmitry. Well, there's no doubt he's been slow out of the gate, and he's ticked off about it. He recently called his play "trash." I do think there's an adjustment period for everybody in the new system. I suspect he'll find his groove and get rolling. But I also don't think we can ignore he's gone against some good run defenses – Miami (6th rush average), Houston (4th), Jacksonville (14th) and the Eagles, ranked 1st in rush defense and 2nd in rush average. Things won't get easier in the coming weeks unfortunately. The Bills are 10th in run defense average per carry, and the Ravens are ranked 4th vs the run.
Landon Jones from Pemberton, New Jersey
Question: Hi Jim! My name is Landon. I'm a die-hard Titans fan residing in New Jersey near the Philly area. Needless to say, I was pretty pumped our big win this past weekend. This upcoming weekend, I'm heading to the Buffalo game to watch the boys play for the boys!
My question for you is: With Corey Davis really starting to come into his own and with really impressive play this last weekend from Tajae and Taywan, I was just wondering if there were any plans or whisperings of bringing in one more WR to add to our improving and young core? Thanks! See you soon!
Jim: Hey Landon. I do think Corey is coming into his own. He's always had the size and athleticism, and he's just needed good health and confidence. He's been healthy, and after that game on Sunday, he should be feeling good about himself. And Tajae and Taywan are developing nicely, too. I haven't heard any whispers (can't believe you didn't mention Dez by name) but the team did sign receiver Chad Hansen to the practice squad this week. See ya in Buffalo!
Andy Brown from Castleford, England
Question: Hi Jim. Writing in all the way from Castleford, England. Been a fan of the mighty Titans fan for years (too many to count) and I'm thoroughly enjoying our return to playing great, confident and daring football! I cannot make it out to Nashville as I lecture at college and during our season I get no break long enough to get to Nashville but I'm pumped to see the boys at Wembley soon! My question is two pronged firstly, will you be over for the Wembley game? And secondly is there anywhere the Titans staff or players are doing any form of get together, meet and greet or anything along those lines on the Saturday before the Sunday game? It would mean the world to be able to meet some of the guys! Thanks for your time.
Jim: Hey Andy. I will be in London, and I'm looking forward to it. As far as Titans players and staff, nothing has been announced, and it's probably doubtful for players since they'll be in game-week prep. But I can tell you there will be daily appearances by Titans cheerleaders and T-Rac around 5pm on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at the Barrow Boy and Banker 6-8 Borough High Street, London, SE1 9QQ. Some Titan alumni may show up, too. So it's going to be a good meeting spot. Also, 104.5-FM, the team's flagship station, will be broadcasting their mid-day show there on Friday (5-7pm local time). Stay tuned for more info, and follow me on Twitter @jwyattsports. It should be fun. As for players, again your best bet there will likely be at the game.
Steven Roland from Cincinnati, Ohio
Question: Jim- I'm a Twitter follower in Ohio and appreciate all your work to keep us long distance fans in the loop with the latest. It seems that Mike Vrabel has really made a connection with the players. They seem to be playing for not only themselves but for each other and for Vrabel. What do you attribute this to? Are the fans in Nashville buying into Vrabel yet?
Jim: Hey Steven. I just think the players respect him because of his experience as a player, and a coach. And he relates well with them because of his past. His no-nonsense approach has been embraced by players, and the fans, who also love his aggressive style of coaching, and his brutally honest takes in pressers and radio and TV appearances.
Matthias Schuster from Rochester, New York
Question: Hey Jim. Are there any gatherings for Titans fans prior to the Bills game? I know Buffalo parties pretty hard in the parking lot. Just want to make sure none of us get tossed through a folding table. Ha! Strength in #s if we gather up and #titanup!
Also, does the team set up any places to purchase merchandise? Tough to find any gear this far away from Nashville. … My wife surprised me with tickets. We're sitting Row 2 in section 121 seat 4 and 5. Huge fans and would love to meet you. Email me if you have time to meet up!
Jim: Hey Matthias. Just keep an eye out for groups of Titans fans in the parking lots around Ralph Wilson. Nothing organized as far as I know. Keep the other eye out for the #BillsMafia – it's a wild group. The team doesn't take merchandise sales on the road, but you should check out the Titans Locker Room store online. As for finding me, I'd love to meet you. I'm always on field pregame, so give me a shout if you see me!
Dale Stephens from Memphis, Tennessee
Question: Hey Jim once again appreciated all the things that you and staff does to keep Titan fans informed and involved. I have to 2 different questions. First: Was this really Corey Davis 1st career TD? I thought he caught one in the playoffs against New England on Malcolm Butler. Which bring me to next question: Why are we paying Malcom Butler that much money and he is getting burnt on a TD almost every game this season? Wow in my opinion our DBs need to better on coverage not the one to be negative but they have to Titan UP! I love the Titans!
Jim: Hey Dale, Appreciate it. The game-winning TD pass vs the Eagles was the first regular season touchdown catch for Davis. And, he actually caught two in the playoffs last year vs. the Patriots. As for Butler, he's allowed some big plays, but he's also made some plays. I think he'll prove in time he was a good get with his style of play, and ability.
David Hernandez from Monterrey, Mexico
Question: Hi, Jim, first of all I want to apologize for the question I asked the first week about Mariota (Why he did not keep playing with injured elbow like Aaron Rodgers did). I was angry and frustrated however your response and the time put me in my place. Well I'm a fan of the Oilers / Titans franchise since 80's and I had time not to sip and fill myself with energy viewing the game against the Eagles, I'm super happy with the guts of the coach Vrabel and the way he think about the game. Finally I would like to ask if the number of local fans in Tennessee has increased because I still see some empty seats in the local games. I hope soon to be able to go to Nissan Stadium to see a game there!!! (because of the closeness with monterrey mexico I have been watching live games of the Titans in Houston for several years) thanks!!!
Jim: Hey David. Appreciate the comment. I wasn't trying to "put you in your place" regarding Mariota, I just think some of the comments questioning his toughness were unfair. And he's proven his commitment and toughness the last few weeks. As for the fans, they're hyped after the win. I'm not going to sit here and say there wasn't a large group of Eagles fans at the game, but I get it. Nashville is a great city, and Philadelphia hasn't played here much over the years. I also understand some Titans fans sold their tickets to make bank. That's their prerogative -- but they missed one of the best games in the stadium's history. And the fans that were there were loud and enthusiastic, and the team has some incredibly loyal fans. With more winning, I think the fan base will continue to grow as well.
Robbert van Giffen from Boise, Idaho
Question: Hey Jim. Brett Kern is awesome but he took a shot making that tackle against the Eagles. How's he feeling? And can you tell him the Titans fans appreciate him being one of the best punters in the game!
Jim: Hey Robbert. He's good. Talked to him last week. Brett has done a great job changing field position with his punting, but that tackled might've saved the game on Sunday. Coach Vrabel gave him some props. I'll tell him you asked about him.
Mortimer Sneed from Chattanooga, Tennessee
Question: Jim, appreciate the line you have to walk, and everyone deserves a little healthcare privacy. But (and Ray Charles could have seen that "but" coming) we have invested a lot of money in the performance of Rashaan Evans. It would seem fair that we have some facts regarding what is preventing that performance from being realized so far. "Heat related" seemed like a cover that couldn't hold up. Can't Coach Vrabel say more about what Rashaan needs to do that he's not doing? Is he putting in the time and the effort? Has he learned what he was supposed to learn so far? Is there an end in sight to this little or no comment? There must be a reason he is being given so much rope. I don't want him to end up like Dodd.
Jim: Hey Mortimer. There's no cover up going on with Rashaan as you seem to think. He dealt with a hamstring injury in camp, and that's been known for over a month. And Vrabel and Evans have been on record about what slowed him down early on. What's happening now is Evans played 60 snaps against the Eagles, and I can promise you he's putting in the work. He's getting better. To compare him to Dodd at this point – four games into his career -- is kind of ridiculous if you ask me, which of course, you did.
Jerome LHurriec from Nantes, France
Question: Hi Jim. A little thinking and a question today. You got a lot of complaint about the disrespect the Titans get by the low power ranking. For me, this low power ranking was totally right. The PR is not about wins, it is about what the teams are doing and are showing. And for the first 3 weeks, Titans did not prove anything but great coaching and great spirit. If great coaching and great spirit are enough for the Super Bowl we are leading... Despite the 2 wins (which should have been 3 wins without a blatant robbery by referees in week 1), we were ugly ! And the teams in front of us had better outings for sure. I have no doubt after eagles game that we will be higher because we showed some football talent on this one and still a real knack to win close games.
My concern and my question is on defense (surprisingly!). Our defense gave only one "no mistake" TD in 4 games (vs Dolphins). We gave one vs Eagles after a questionable call when Correa softly dived on Wentz. But we gave 3 long TD on pass on Malcolm Butler. I know, sometimes, the guy the closest from the ball is not always the guy who should be on the ball but videos seem to assert that Butler has been beaten 3 times on long ball. Giving 1 long TD per game is a bit high for a guy who is supposed to be an upgrade for our D. Your opinion?
Jim: _Hey Jerome. I discussed Butler earlier, and I expect he'll settle in and make plenty of plays. As for power rankings, I don't pay much attention to those since they don't count in the standings. Here's what Vrabel said this week when asked if the Titans are getting enough credit for being 3-1. "I think that is probably the most ridiculous thing that any of us should worry about, is what kind of credit we get," Vrabel said. "The respect that you try and earn as a professional athlete should be by the guys on your side of the ball, and from the guys on the other side of the ball. Other than that, I couldn't think of anybody that we would have to try and impress other than our team, and the one we are trying to beat." _
Craig LeFrancois from Auburn, Massachusetts
Question: Does Vrabel intend to use Adoree' Jackson on offense this season? If there was any coach in the league that would be open to it, it would be him and Jackson enjoyed success last season when given the opportunity.
Jim: Hey Craig. Well, it was fun when that happened last year. Vrabel hasn't said one way or the other, but I'm not necessarily expecting it. The team already has a speedster in Taywan Taylor at its disposal on offense, and Dion Lewis is a shifty playmaker as well. With that said, Vrabel is an outside-the-box thinker, and so is OC Matt LaFleur for that matter. So I wouldn't rule it out.
Have a great weekend everyone!
Titans Online looks back at the all-time series against the Buffalo Bills. (Photos: Donn Jones, AP)