NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Another practice week in the books, and another game on the horizon.
The Titans face the Ravens on Sunday at Nissan Stadium.
But first, let's knock out another mailbag…
Jamie Konitzer from Manitowoc, Wisconsin
Question: Hey Jim. I really loved our 3-1 start to the season BUT then the Buffalo Bills happened. I'm sure there a ton of fans disappointed about this outcome after great wins vs the Jags & Eagles! I have one question. How is it possible for Derrick Henry to only get 11 carries against one of the worst run defenses in the NFL?? 11 CARRIES at a robust 5.1 average per carry! It's not like we were down double digits at any point in the game! Dion Lewis should only be used on 3rd downs and/or in games that we have to play catch-up in! Henry's talent is going to waste! PLEASE relay my concern to the coaching staff!
Jim: Hey Jamie. I'll let the staff know. OK, I can't lie – I'm not going to say anything to them because of that whole kill the messenger thing. I do think Henry looked better against the Bills, though, and he probably earned more carries moving forward as a result. I should probably tell you this – the Bills don't have the worst run defense in the NFL. They're actually 12th vs. the run. The Ravens? Well, they're fifth.
Gavin O'Dell from Fort Riley, Kansas
Question: Hey Jim. Die-hard Titans fan and Memphis native checking in for the 1st time. Thanks for all you do keeping us updated. I'm a US Army Sergeant, been overseas and back and still have always been informed on what's going on with the home team. From your vantage point, have you gotten to witness or heard the coaching staff emphasizing consistency with this team? What's your take on what this team's true identity will be moving forward? We're more than a quarter of the way thru and Titans seem to be a new team every week. I understand fluent game plans factor in to that, but every week it seems as if we play down (or up) to our level of competition, esp offensively. I hope this is a wake-up call and turning point For the Boys as things only get rougher in November.
Jim: Hey Gavin, Appreciate it. And thanks for your service. It's a fair question. To be honest, I think this team is still finding its identity. Mike Vrabel talked about the importance of being consistent this week, and so did DC Dean Pees. When you're consistent, the identity is created from there by how you play on a consistent basis. And right now, I think the team really is trying to find its footing. The team can't hang its hat on the run game, because things haven't been great. The run defense hasn't been up to snuff either, and in time the expectation is it will be a strength. Overall, the defense has been good. Five games into the season, the Titans have done some things well, while other things need to improve. Check back in a few weeks and we'll see how things look.
Scott McAdams from Seattle, Washington
Question: HELLO JIM, READ YOU DAILY.. BEEN A FAN SINCE THE LUV YA BLUE DAYS IN HOUSTON, AND STUCK WITH THEM EVER SINCE.I SPORT A MCNAIR JERSEY, AND HAVE SO MANY GREAT MEMORIES..QUESTION JIM? PEOPLE ARE ASKING ABOUT DEZ, TRADES ETC. WHY DID THEY PART WAYS WITH RISHARD MATTHEWS? 'IM ASSUMING HEALTH? NOBODY ELSE SEEMS INTERESTED IN HIM? THANKS JIM
Jim: THANK YOU. WELL, RISHARD PRETTY MUCH QUIT BECAUSE HE WASN'T HAPPY WITH HIS OPPORTUNITIES. SO FAR, HE HASN'T LANDED ANYWHERE.
Ram Busireddy from Santa Clara, California
Question: It was total letdown with loss over Bills. Can we give some good reliable receivers to Mariota? Otherwise we will kill his career for nothing. Titan fans are tired of mediocre seasons and strategy. I was very sad to hear when 95.7 said watching Titans play is total waste of time. What do you say about that?
Jim: What do I have to say about it? Just one thing: Who the heck is 95.7?
Roy Wright from Smyrna Tennessee
Question: An easy question i think really. Titans running backs have struggled, did ok last week. David Fluellen been around on the roster a long time a great special team player. I thought he had his best spring since he has been here. Good blocker on passes and good yardage on his runs. Why do they not give him some reps running the ball. No offense to Dion and at points during the game he does great. But i think another back with some size would help the run game. Would like to see how David does in real game.
Jim: Hey Roy. I like David Fluellen. He's also one of those players coaches love because he's a hard-working guy who has value in a lot of areas. I think coaches will continue to ride with Derrick and Dion for now, though, but Fluellen is available and will play on special teams. He dealt with a groin injury earlier in the season, but he's good now.
Julie Crenshaw from Newport Beach, California
Question: Hi Jim. I'm not trying to criticize or knock the new coaching staff but I think a lot of fans want to know why does this team still look like a Murlarkey coached team? Nothing has changed on offense with new HC and OC. Why does Mariota still have to carry the team and win it in the last minutes of the games?? I don't understand it! I thought the new offense is suppose to be more passing and better and explosive yet its Murlarkeys offense. Who is calling the shots? Is Vraebel meddling into the offense cuz he needs to stay out of it and focus on the defense that can't even stop the run. Why does JROB not get them better WR's? Promoting from practice squad does nothing as you see Belichick helped Brady by getting Josh Gordon risk or not he was the better option than promoting from practice squad. I'm pretty sure this won't get posted or answered but it's what alot of fans want to know the answer to Thanks
Jim: Hey Julie. You live in a beautiful part of the country. I'll accept the challenge – I'm not afraid to post this. I've seen some of your rants on Twitter so it's not new to me. But just so you'll know moving forward – there's only one "e" in Vrabel. And if you're going to bash Mularkey, take out that first r. In the meantime, take a deep breath, go for a walk on the beach, and have a great day.
Beau Johnson from Nashville, Tennessee
Question: Hey Jim. With Taylor Lewan asking for more media attention I figured I could provide some (though not in relation to his play). I was shopping at a Target last night, and as I walking into the store I noticed a homeless family sitting outside the exit with a sign asking for money for diapers. I didn't have any cash on me, but thought I might be able to help out by purchasing some diapers in the store. I quickly went to the restroom to relieve myself before shopping and as i came out I saw two large men pushing a shopping cart with the family following behind him. I thought one looked shockingly like Taylor Lewan, and then I noticed his shirt that said "The Boys" and his taped ankle and knew I was looking at the highest paid left tackle in football. He took the family around the store buying all sorts of things (including diapers), and ended up leaving at the same time I did. He and his friend left all the items with the family and got in his truck and left. I didn't notice he or his friend carrying anything, but I did notice he parked in a handicapped spot, so hopefully that isn't indicative of his status moving forward. All in all, it was a pretty surreal experience. I know a lot of players volunteer and help the community on their own or as a part of team/league initiatives, but to see it unsolicited first hand was pretty amazing. I'm not sure why he would have been at this particular shopping center, nor what made him stop and help that family, but I think it says a lot about a guy who some people have labeled as hot-headed. I think Taylor is the Titan's version of PK Subban in that you love him if he's on your team, but he seems to be disliked by just about any team he plays against. This just made it that much easier for me to defend our "nasty", "hot-headed" Left Tackle against all who may speak against him.
Jim: Thanks for sharing this cool story…
David Copelin from Upper Marlboro, Maryland
Question: Jim. I hope your feeling much better than I am from that terrible loss to the Bills. My frustration with my beloved titans after looking at the first 5 games is the following: Why does Henry have less than 25 carries/ game? Offensive play calling has been a minor step up from last year (need more explosive plays hint: take a look at Patriots play calling) and Tajae Sharpe needs the ball more. My question is we have the talent, but every game pretty much, the Titans are SLOW on offense so I want to know do the Titans plan to establish a run game, design routes and plays to get other receivers involved (Tarje Sharpe) and get more production from tight ends?? P.S.- Is there any way we can get back Deontay Burnett?? He was a great route runner, physical and has great hands. We need dependable receivers.......too many dropped passes over last 3 games.
Jim: Hey David. We're on to Baltimore here. The team definitely needs more explosive plays, and hopefully that will happen moving forward. As for Burnett, I know he's still out there, but the team has other in-house options ahead of him now. The team signed former Giants receiver Roger Lewis to the practice squad this week, and he's looked good in practices. The Titans also signed one of the Hansen brothers -- former Jets receiver Chad Hansen -- to the practice squad recently as well. The team was interested in keeping Burnett on the practice squad when he was released, but other guys are ahead of him now after he elected to join the Jets practice squad.
Kourney Taylor from Clarksville, Tennessee
Question: Will the Titans sign Dez Bryant?
Jim: (Copy and paste) No.
Thomas Morris from Kaneohe, Hawaii
Question: Hey Jim, I wanted to start out by saying thank you for all your responses and for issuing your answers in a positive manner. I am a little disheartened by the lack of respect some of our "fans", it is one thing to be frustrated by their performance last week, as I was, but to some of the comments on various social media platforms directed towards the Titans as well as specific players is utterly disrespectful. I hope the Vrabel keeps the guys focused and blinds out the hate from our own fans. Watching the film again, it is clear that the loss was more than on one guy. I truly believe that losing to the Bills is a benefit in disguise as the Titans clearly play better as underdogs with a chip on their shoulder. After 2 big wins against big opponents, it seemed like the Titans came out expecting to win and were not as scrappy as usual. This loss to the bills will hopefully spark the underdog fire again.
Anyways to my questions. First off, looking at film from both the Bills game and the Eagles game, it is clear that Mariota does not have faith in Jonnu Smith currently. Smith has been wide open on numerous occasions, yet Mariota has opted for more dangerous throws instead. Do you see Mariota regaining confidence in Smith? I believe it is way too early to give up on him for a dropped pass, ( I agree it was bad) but he never got the chance to redeem himself. Second question, what are the Titans doing to speed up the growth of Rashaan Evans? They drafted him as ILB but his real strength is running downhill and stopping the run. By watching film, it seems like Evans is passive and lost. Brown, on the other hand, was previously used to match up in coverage. However, Brown has been a force of nature showing ability in pass coverage and attacking the run and applying pressure. Brown clearly is a 3 down linebacker but Evans is just not ready or confident enough. When Woodyard comes back, do you think we would see an increased role from Evans lining up as an OLB? Third and last question. Lafleur says that he approaches every match up differently. Watching the Bills game, I am uncertain of what the game plan was. Against the Eagles, the RPO worked as they are an aggressive run defense, but so is Buffalo. This is a big bounce back week for us. What do you expect to see as an adjustment to the offense as we prepare for the Ravens?
Jim: Hey Thomas. Appreciate you taking the time. Marcus had some nice things to say about Jonnu this week, but clearly they need to get on the same page more, and trust is a work in progress. This week, Titans offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur said he plans to get the tight ends more involved more moving forward, so we'll see how that goes. Evans is getting better. He's still making up for so many missed practices. I still believe he's going to be a good one. Evans is going to play, some weeks more than others. At some point, he'll be a regular starter, but when, well, that remains to be seen. As for LaFleur, he looks for different ways to attack each week. I mentioned this before, but the Titans are going to need to run the ball more effectively to take pressure off the passing game.
John Tracy from Pompano Beach, Florida
Question: Jim, Heading off to merry ole England to watch Titans destroy Chargers. Are there any pre or post game events planned for us loyal fans at Wembley?
Jim: Hey John. It should be fun. I can tell you the Titans cheerleaders and T-Rac are scheduled to be at the Barrow Boy and Banker 6-8 Borough High Street, London, SE1 9QQ on Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 4-6 p.m. Friday is a fan rally starting at 3. Some Titan alumni may show up, too. Former Titans linebacker Keith Bulluck is expected to be there, and I'm hearing several guys may be there, too. Also, 104.5-FM, the team's flagship station, will be broadcasting their mid-day show there on Friday afternoon from 4-8. Stay tuned for more info, and follow me on Twitter (@jwyattsports) and the team (@Titans). As far as players and coaches, the team will be on a tight schedule. We're not getting there until Friday morning, and there will be a walk-through and practice that day. We're flying back to Nashville after the game. As for more fan events, I'll share info as I get it next week.
David Clegg and from Bath, United Kingdom
Hi Jim. Titans fan from the UK super excited to see the team come over to London for the first time. Are there any events that the team are putting on over the week, or anything before the game that I should be looking out for?
Jim: Hey David. As I mentioned to John, the main meeting spot will be at Barrow Boy and Banker during the week. That's where a fan rally will be held, and Nashville radio will be live from there. As far as other events, especially on game day, they're ticketed events. I know Titans fans bought up 250 travel packages for the game, so you'll see big gatherings. I've been in communication with a lot of Titans fans from the UK. The turnout should be great, and I wish I could tell you of one meeting spot on game day, but unfortunately I can't. Hope to see you there!
Ancel Bynaum from Seagoville, Texas
Question: Since being drafted Marcus Mariota has never had a true number one receiver threat. I really feel like they are letting him down bigtime and never played his style of football like Goff and Wentz and even Winston have great wideouts but we don't. How sad do you feel about that?
Jim: Don't be sad. Be glad. I think Corey Davis is that guy. He's just going to keep getting better.
Have a great weekend everyone!