NASHVILLE – Well, we're almost through March, and we're closing in on April.
And that means the NFL Draft is really closing in on us now.
It was a busy week at the NFL Owners Meetings in Phoenix. I hope you checked out all the coverage here at Titans Online.
Right now, you need to check out this mailbag. But hey, I guess that's why you're here…
Michael "Mike Titan" Worden from Gulfport, Florida
Question: Long-time reader, first time writer. Thanks for joining the Titans family and giving us fans a place to postulate and prognosticate. Native Nashvillian now living in beautiful Gulfport.
Miss my season tickets with family. Had them from the beginning. My question/comment revolves around the offensive line and how it affects all the things we can and cannot do on offense. I hope that we have the zone blocking worked out. Love Ben Jones but hope we go center with our first pick (miss Kevin Mawae). Move Jones to guard and go IDL with second pick. … Take a page out of Indy, protect our quarterback and get rid of the ball quicker. We have enough weapons on offense if Delanie comes back to form, our new OC figures it all out and Henry keeps it physical. A big If but I have faith that we move over that 9 win hump this year. What are your thoughts on the o-line zone blocking change, our new addition and the affect on our offense?
Jim: What's up Big Mike? Hope life is good in Gulfport. The o-line play definitely plays a huge part, and it's clear already it was a big area of emphasis this offseason. One starter was released (Josh Kline) and another (Quinton Spain) hasn't been re-signed. The team added Rodger Saffold. I like Jones myself, and I don't think moving him to guard is out of the question. But I also know some of the decision-makers thought he performed well inside at center, and they believe he's good for the QB. But if a guy like Garrett Bradbury from N.C. State ends up being the pick, then things could certainty change. Marcus, as you mentioned, could help himself by getting the ball out quicker. I do think the team has some nice weapons, including Delanie Walker, but I'm all for adding more myself. I suspect the o-line will be asked to do similar things under OC Arthur Smith. As for the new additions, Adam Humphries will be a big impact guy. I expect the returning receivers, especially Corey Davis, will make a big leap as well.
Adam Blair from Springfield, Ohio
Question: Hey Jim. There was talk last season of Rashaan Evans being able to play EDGE. If the Titans focus on other positions of need such as a pass catcher, D lineman, or interior O lineman early in the draft....would it be a crazy idea to move Evans to EDGE opposite Landry and have Woodyard and Brown in the middle? Thanks for the time.
Jim: Hey Adam. There was chatter, and there's no doubt he's capable of doing it. I still think his primary position will be inside, though, and he could occasionally line up on the outside. In some form or fashion, I do suspect he'll be turned loose and have a chance to get after the quarterback a little more in 2019.
Brian Edwards from Tullahoma, Tennessee
Question: My question pertains to the draft but is a little off base from the usual questions. Hypothetically of course, can you see the team getting another early down running back? I know that Henry can be really good, but the times when he struggles I feel like we could use an additional (consistent) RB to compliment him. Perhaps a guy like Dexter Williams from Notre Dame could be a mid-round bargain. Thanks for listening Jim!
Jim: Hey Brian. Honestly, I just can't see it. Not with Derrick Henry, Dion Lewis and David Fluellen around. Too many other needs in my opinion.
Tim G from Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania
Question: Hey Jim, always enjoy your insight. TN native here transplanted to PA, & have followed your Titans coverage dating back to the Tennessean days before moving north, so appreciate the ease of being able to continue that trend since you moved to the Titans site. 2 questions for you:
(1.) After reviewing several mock drafts online over the past few days after a ton of free agency moves, while there's still variance depending on where you look, I'm seeing 2 more consistent choices for the Titans' 1st round pick. Based on your knowledge/insight from any sources within the franchise to date, and running on the assumption both players are available, if you had to lay money on it right now and were given the choices between Christian Wilkins, TJ Hockensen, or the field, which would you lay your money on?
(2.) Taking any insight insight/knowledge out of the equation going by your own opinion of the team's needs, what would be your personal Rd1 pick (based on realistic availability of course)?
Jim: Hey Tim. I appreciate it you following. Of course I'm not a betting man, but I think the field is the safest bet. Now I'll say this: I'm a big fan of Christian Wilkins, as a player and a guy. Very impressive young man. Hockensen is a good player, too, but GM Jon Robinson sure didn't leave me thinking a tight end will be picked early when I asked him about it at the owners meetings. As for the position in Round 1, it's still too early to say. I'll go d-line right now, but that's subject to change. And it's a pure guess, and not based on anything I've been told. The GM usually doesn't tell me who the team is picking until the week of the draft. (I'm joking). Usually not until day of. (Joking again). Usually never. (Not joking).
Jimmy Dee from Battle Ground, Washington
Question: Any chance we draft Jeffery Simmons in the first round? The Titans have improved enough in FA that they should be able to hold their own against other teams for a while Jeffery Simmons heals. Some people will say he stinks of Pacman Jones but Pacman was in a lot more trouble than Simmons has been and Simmons appears to be sincerely & strongly remorseful whereas Pacman didn't seem sincerely remorseful at all. He still doesn't. I don't think we should give up more than a 1st round pick and a 3rd round pick but I would love to hear his name called when the Titans are on the clock.
Sandals Southworth from Piketon, Ohio
Question: Hi Jim, my question is, would you happen to know if the Titans are planning to do anything like "Igniting the Fire" again this season? Always enjoy my Titans content and really enjoyed that last year. As always, thank you for the constant updates!
Jim: Hey Sandals. I haven't heard anything definitive on this, but I asked the question just this week and it sounds promising. It was a big hit, and hopefully we'll have a "Re-Igniting the Fire." Stay tuned.
Aaron Patch from Lodi, Wisconsin
Question: Hey Jim. I have a question about how Arthur Smith is going to run the offense. I'm excited to see what this guy can do, seems like a very bright guy. Completely transformed that inexperienced TE group. He's seen what has and hasn't worked for our offense being with the organization for so long. I know they are going to keep the same type of scheme that Vrabel/LaFleur put in place. Are you expecting anything in particular or different with his play calling? Do you think he will have derrick as the featured back or will it be committee again? Loved watching 22 get his touches and wear teams down at the end of the season. Sorry for ranting, just so excited for some Titans football haha. (Also hope that after Smith shows what he can do he doesn't get poached like LaFleur.)
Jim: Hey Aaron. There's really a lot to be determined here. Arthur has spent the offseason preparing, and gathering input from other coaches. It's going to be his show, but the show won't start until the regular season. Sure, we'll get a sneak peak in the preseason, but it won't look the same as it will when the regular season starts. So we'll have to wait and see how Arthur does things. I do think Henry has earned more opportunities moving forward, but Dion Lewis is going to be a factor. If Henry performs well, he's going to tote the rock plenty, though. This is what the GM said when I asked him about Henry earlier this week: "He proved that he can step in there and carry the load, and we'll try to put that right back on him. We'll certainly be mindful of the carries that he's getting and the touches that he's getting. But all those running backs and receivers, skill players, the more they can get the ball the more they like it."
Christopher Spaulding from Denver, Colorado
Question: Hi Jim..... Just would like to thank you for your mail bags. I'm always intrigued by our fans questions and thoughts...and your great analysis and feedbacks...Like when a fan asked who Humphries was...couldn't wait to your short and sweet reply... Which brings me to my first 2 big questions for this team in 2019-2020 who I believe has what it takes to make a run at it...Will Adam Humphries be what Edelman is once he hits his peak in your opinion, especially after JR stood up on a table for him? My next and last question....Do you think it would be to the Titans benefit to play the Colts earlier in this upcoming season as opposed to last year where we played the Colts in Week 11 and 17 ? #####Titan Up##### 2020 Champs
Jim: Hey Christopher. I appreciate it. I love doing the mailbags, and opening the emails and seeing the questions, and where they're from. I do think Humphries is going to be Edelman-like. Check out his highlights if you haven't yet – he's a baller. He catches a lot of short to mid-range passes, and turns them into bigger gains. He takes some big hits and keeps on truckin'. As for the Colts, hey, the Titans are going to have to prove they can beat them in something other than a "Best Fan Base" poll. I don't care if it's in September or December, in the rain, in the snow, on a sunny day, inside, outside, with a light breeze, a windy day … OK, you get what I mean. I'm sounding like a Dr. Seuss book. What I'm saying is it's time to stop hoping for flukes or for having things line up just right to make it happen. The Titans have to get over the hump and do it. It's beyond frustrating for everyone and the streak needs to stop.
Tim Hammond from Seymour, Tennessee
Question: Hey Jim. Hope everything is good in Jim World. What a weird season from start to finish. I remember Malcolm picking off our current backup in end zone then returning it to mid field. Of course then came the delay. All of this followed the odd injury Marcus sustained to his elbow. If he had been a pitcher he would have been done for the season. And let's not forget losing probably the team's best player for the year. Titans fans everywhere had to temper expectations before the team had even completed their first game. Thank God that nightmare is over. If Walker and Smith are healthy enough to play most of the games this year, that will help. Somehow we stole a really good QB from Mia. Considering the returning players and great additions in FA, do you believe this team can compete for SB?
Jim: Hey Tim. All is good with me, thanks. Survived a Camelback Mountain hike while in Phoenix, and I'm starting to get geared up for the NFL Draft. Super Bowl? Super Bowl? Hey, the Titans need to get back in the playoffs first, and then go from there. Dang. I'm sounding like a cross between Jim Mora and Herm Edwards now. Seriously, the roster is still a work in progress. Definitely not going to make any grand predictions right now.
Have a great weekend everyone!