NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Are you ready for some football?
Well, the Titans are playing the Cowboys on Monday Night Football -- like we all haven't waited long enough after the bye weekend.
The good news is there's no more waiting for the Saturday mailbag.
Dakota Eltzroth from Gatlinburg, Tennessee
Question: Hi Jim. Second time emailing you and I just wanted to say I love the move to bring back Jalston Fowler. Not that my opinion matters but hopefully Mr. Robinson and Coach Vrabel will keep him on the team long term and also hopefully we will see a #45 Jersey! I think he could help the run game and you just don't see teams using that fullback position as much anymore. Do you think we will see a difference in the run game? Thanks for the time and articles!
Jim: Hey Dakota. Good to hear from you again. Well, for starters, you'll see Fowler in No. 40 in his second stint. And I think Fowler will help. We've seen some tight ends lined up in the backfield at times this season, but they're not true fullbacks. Fowler is, and he's ready. With a smile, he said he's ready to knock a few guys out, so this guy means business. Now don't expect the Titans to turn into an offense with a fullback on the field a lot. But when Fowler is out there, I expect the run game to be more effective. And his presence will free up the tight ends to do more.
Matt Myers from Round Rock, Texas
Question: Long-time FAN, always read your answers to these questions and wonder how you keep our composure with it from time to time. Like all Titan fans right now a bit disappointed with the last few weeks, even though saw some life against the Chargers. You have been around the team for a long time, and I was wondering how do these guys feel to you in comparison to the great teams we had in the beginning? Not so much are they equal skill type players or anything, but those teams had a something special among them. And i feel like you might only be able to sense it when you are around them often enough to notice that little extra want or drive in them. I see and hear what should be said after disappointment, just want to know if the secret sauce (for lack of a better term) is there. They were always a blue collar workman like team, refused to lose, I see the fight in our current roster and coach. But the special teams have that little extra between them. Just wondering if you feel it when you are with and around them. Thank you for your time.
Jim: Hey Matt. Well, with some bad play at times, I expected to get some hate mail. Heck, watching it has ticked me off at times, too! :)
Well, those teams from 1999-2003 were special, with Eddie George, Steve McNair, Frank Wycheck, Bruce Matthews, Jevon Kearse, Blaine Bishop on many of those teams. Those teams had great leadership, and they built confidence by winning. I do think the current squad has great leadership, and is capable of getting on a roll and doing something special, too. I also know before we got to the great run in those years, there were some growing pains – and plenty of 8-8 seasons. I'm not saying that's where this season is headed, but I think this is a team still climbing, with a first-year head coach and a quarterback still developing. Keep in mind the Super Bowl season was Year 5 for McNair, and that's when he really took off.
The Titans are 11-6 on Monday Night Football, having won five of their last six. (Photos: Donn Jones, AP)
Luis Velazquez from Twin Falls, Idaho
Question: Last year we were one of the top defense in stopping the run. Do you think this second half of the season our defense can get back to that kind of defense?
Jim: Well, it better, starting on Monday night against Ezekiel Elliott and the Cowboys. Personally, I'm surprised it hasn't been better. Tackling has been an issue at times, and just guys being in the wrong gap. I know it's a point of emphasis, and I think it will improve in the second half of the season.
Zach Longman from Las Vegas, Nevada
Question: Jim, I'm gonna be honest you may not like this question or take it seriously but i need to ask it. I, like most fans really wanted us to be on the more aggressive side before the trade deadline and go get another weapon for our receiving group. We are extremely young and inexperienced and i really wanted to see a veteran receiver come in and help us out. I then saw reports that we actually put in an offer for Demaryious Thomas but we were late and he fell to our rivals and the one team we need to best to make the playoffs this season. I also realized that Demaryious Thomas is 30 years old and will be 31 as of December 25th of this year. Obviously as the trade deadline ended and i still felt like we needed a veteran weapon for our receivers i looked up Dez Bryants age and found out that he's only 29 but will be turning 30 later this week. After seeing the interest in Demaryious Thomas do you believe that there could be any interest in signing Dez if the price was right? It seems that after the bye week and the titans self-evaluation they're realizing as well they do need to add some extra talent in their passing game so could the interest in Demaryious Thomas entertain the thought that the Titans may be more interested in Dez Bryant than in weeks previous?
Jim: Hey Zach. Well, I can tell you the GM was in the mix for players leading up to the deadline. I think it's misleading to say the Titans got in late, and not completely accurate. I suspect Jon Robinson was in conversations and gauging the price tag (draft picks) on certain players, and he had a line he wasn't going to cross. I think that goes all the way back to Amari Cooper. Obviously he wasn't willing to bow to the demands of the teams looking to deal players. Robinson has proven he's not afraid to deal, but he's not going to act in desperation and be had either. I look back at last year, and the Bills traded for receiver Kelvin Benjamin for a third and seventh round pick, and he ended up catching three or few passes in his six games last season in Buffalo. He had 27 receiving yards or less in three of those games. His final totals in six games: 16 catches, 217 yards. The third round pick the Panthers got in return ended up being DB Rashaan Gaulden from Tennessee. I just think it's tough for a guy to come in during the season and make a big impact on a new team at the receiver position. As for Dez, I've been asked about him for months. I don't get any indication the team is on the verge of pouncing. I saw the video he put out several weeks back, and he sure didn't look like Antonio Brown, I'll just say that…
Rodney Loo from Honolulu, Hawaii
Question: Hello Jim. I live in Honolulu and have been a Titans fan since Marcus joined the team. My wife and I are flying up to Nashville to see the Jets and Jaguars games in December.
Is there any way to contact Marcus to see if we could meet him (we don't want to impose or in any way hinder his preparation for the games)? Any suggestions you have would be greatly appreciated.
Jim: Hey Rodney. Marcus is a great guy, and tries to accommodate everyone. But practices are closed in season, and he's just not accessible during the week. Your best bet is to get lucky on game day. I'd try and get as low in the stands – where the players come in and out for warmups and leave the field after the game – and maybe you'll get lucky.
Brett Ennis from Hershey, Pennsylvania
Question: Hi Jim! This is my first time writing. I have been a Titans fan for a long time and have been reading your mailbag for a few years. It's the best way for me to keep up with the team here in Hershey, PA.
First, like all fans I'm disappointed with our offense this year. I have counted arguably 5-6 passes dropped that cost Mariota a touchdown. His stats are much better than what is shown. With that being said, I am glad we didn't waste early draft picks on a rental this year. Will we see any offense with both Henry and Lewis on the field at the same time moving forward? We need to find ways to take the double team off Davis and get him open.
Second, my girlfriend got me tickets for this week's game for my graduation. Will anything be going on in Dallas this weekend for Titans fans? I fly in early Saturday morning. Thanks Jim, Titan up!
Jim: Hey Brett. Appreciate you keeping up with the mailbag. You're right on the dropped passes – there have been too many, and they need to be cleaned up. And while I think you may be in the minority on the trade talk, I think you have a fair take. Sure, it might've been nice to add a guy, but only for a fair deal because it might've only been for the rest of the year. As for Henry/Lewis on the field at the same time, it's happened a few times already, and I could see it happening more. But with Fowler around, he'll add an extra dimension in the backfield that will keep defenses guessing. Sounds like your girlfriend is a keeper! Have a big time at the game!
Jeff Darby from San Marcos, CA
Question: Is the whole team vegetarian?
Jim: Well, it sure seems like it because so many guys are. But no, I'd still say most guys are not.
Josh Adams from Nashville, Tennessee
Question: Hey Jim. First time write in here - enjoy reading your updates. Thanks for keeping us informed!
My question - Taywan Taylor has been pretty quiet recently. Is he not getting balls because he isn't getting open or is the game plan just not going his direction? Seems like a weapon we would want to really try and take advantage of, in the vein of a Tyreke Hill. Curious if there are any rumblings or trying to get him more involved in the offense considering his dynamic capabilities. I know he's had a couple big drops, but I wouldn't think that would prevent them from trying to involve him? Thanks for reading!
Jim: Hey Josh. Well, Taywan is still seen as a playmaker, and coaches have talked about trying to get him more involved. He's going to need to be successful – along with the rest of the receivers – if the Titans are going to be contenders. He has speed, and he can make guys miss. As he continues to develop, I expect him to make more of an impact in the coming weeks.
D Irish from Birmingham, Alabama
Question: Good day, Jim. I enjoy reading your responses on here and the work you do. This is my first time on here and I have quite few questions to ask lol so bear with me. I just saw that Jalston Fowler has been resigned to the team. He did a pretty good job leading the way for Henry and Murray the past two seasons. Do you think he will quickly help the team's run game? Also, granted Melvin Gordon didn't play, the defense looked pretty good last week against that LA offense. Just literally two blown plays from having a very great defensive game. With Elliot behind the line this coming Monday, are the coaches confident in the front seven's chances of limiting him from making big plays or gashing the defense for 75+ yards? Our linebackers should be all fresh this week and ready to light it up. Brown has looked like a faster Stephen Tulloch, Woodyard has been great since signing with the team, and Evans is only getting better. Hopefully Vaccaro is back fully healthy he's a smart and physical player. Last question. If they win Monday night, how do you think they'll fare for the rest of the year? No one is really going to give us a chance this game. Wait til Sunday and that 4-point underdog rating will increase to maybe 6+ smh. I really hope we win though.
Jim: Hey D. As I mentioned to Dakota, I think Fowler will help, but I'm not expecting him to be on the field 25-30 plays or anything like that. On many plays, Derrick Henry and Dion Lewis will work without a fullback in front of them. I do think the defense took a positive step against the Chargers, but the big plays against the D has to stop. Elliott is a heck of a back, so it's a challenge. As far as if the Titans win as Dallas, well, they'll have the Patriots waiting for them on a short week either way. The hope is the Dallas game will be a springboard for a big second half of the season.
Leandro Sanchez from Houston, Texas
Question: Hey Jim. First I would like to say thanks for all that you, Amy, and Mike do keeping us up to speed on our beloved titans. I read your columns every week but this is the first time I'm writing you. I have one question but more so would like to vent (not about the team or the coaching staff/"play calling", but about the so called fans). I would first like to say that I have been a diehard oiler/titan fan for a long time. As a kid I remember watching Frank Reich (HC of the colts now) orchestrate one the greatest comebacks in NFL history, the infamous Buddy Ryan/Kevin Gilbride fight, watching my team move from Houston to Nashville (talk about heartbreak), who can forget the Music City Miracle and Super Bowl XXXIV (The Longest Yard), too many memories to count good and bad. The Hits that Mariota takes on the field, by the media, and by our so-called fans is ridiculous. I guess a lot of people fail to realize that we are a young team and we really do have a lot of talent. This is our 3rd HC and offensive scheme in 4 years it's gonna come with growing pains. I wonder how many fans were screaming their head off when we shocked Philly in wk4 and are now calling for players and coaches to lose their jobs C'mon man!!!!....TITANUP and back up your team. For the guy that said he was done watching the titans for the year C'mon man!!!!....TITANUP! If you're not with us at our lowest you don't deserve to be with us at our highest. My Astros were at the bottom of the barrel for many years and we are now World Champs and making a strong case to repeat this year as well. Speaking of wk4 if that is what our team looks like when we are firing on all cylinders the rest of the league is gonna have their hands full with us. Well now that I'm done with the history lesson and my rant on to my question. … Before I go do me a favor when you get a chance tell Kevin Byard I enjoy watching the heart and intensity he brings every week. Thanks Jim TITANUP!!!!
Jim: Hey Leandro. I appreciate you taking the time, and for your loyalty. I'll pass the word to K.B.!
William Henry from Kingston, Tennessee
Question: First Jim I'd like to start off by saying I've been an Oilers/Titans fan since '77 and grew up playing against Bo Orlando which is still a good friend of mine and Mike Munchak in highschool. Jim I am a fan of yours big-time -- you keep things optimistic when it comes to our team and you keep answers honest. I have you as a member of my An Army of Titans fanclub on FB also. Now that I got that out of the way lol, here's my question: Being that we lost a veteran reciever like Rishard and Delanie, and our receiving core is doing poorly, why wouldn't the organization entertain the thought of picking up Dez Bryant or another high quality free agent receiver? I don't see our offense going anywhere without a veteran receiver. Thanks Jim Titan up
Jim: Hey William. I appreciate the kind words. Trying to butter me up to get a different answer on Dez, huh? OK, so just between you and I, the team is signing him today and he'll be on the field against his old team on Monday night! What a storyline, huh!
Just kidding William! :)
But thanks again.
Have a great weekend!
TitansOnline.com looks back at the all-time series against the Dallas Cowboys. (Photos: Donn Jones, AP)