NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Well, we're halfway through February already.
The NFL Combine is closing in, and the NFL Draft will be here before we know it.
This weekend's Titans mailbag, well, it's here.
Let's do this …
Doug Campbell from Chattanooga, Tennessee
Question: Hey Jim. Couple questions/thoughts for ya-. I know that this time of year is a lot of grasping at straws and speculation, but do you have any idea why so many "experts" keep drafting us a TE Rd 1? I mean, losing Walker week 1 last year hurt (BAD), but by the end of the season I thought that Smith /Stocker/Firkser had done a decent job of filling the void. With Walker back healthy, that would seem to be a position of strength (regardless of if we resign Stocker)... I'm not gonna argue against the Best Player Available strategy of drafting, but I don't really think that the projected TEs I've seen (Fant, Hockensen) seem worth for us to take as a top 20 pick... am I wrong on how good they are?
Second, I'd love to address WR in FA as there are some solid vet options out there (bring Golden Tate back to TN? sign Tavon Austin to a WR corps were he isn't asked to do everything, bring in a speedster like Perriman or Brown?) rather than bringing in ANOTHER young guy to our already super young WR corp... I feel like DL, Edge, or iOL are all much better investments with #19. Is there any feeling with the team about needs better addressed in FA rather than draft?
Jim: Hey Doug. I suspect it's because of Walker's age, and questions about where things go moving forward. Do I think the team will go TE in first round? Right now I'm skeptical, but I see where the chatter comes from. Delanie will be 35 when the season starts, and in the final year of his deal. Stocker's contract is up. As you mentioned, Smith and Firkser are promising youngsters. I'm not betting against Walker, and him playing several more years, so I don't see the need the way others might. As for the receiver position, we're thinking alike here. I like the idea of a veteran in a room of young receivers, but it has to be the right guy.
Darin Finkelstein from Chatham, New Jersey
Question: Hey Jim. Thanks for continuing all of the mailbag, especially during the off-season. As a fan it is great to stay in touch with the team. Quick question-any update on how Marcus is healing from last season's injuries? So much of the team's success depends on his health, curious if there is any new information. Thanks, Darin
Jim: Hey Darin. All indications are he's recovering well. Marcus said himself he just needed time to recover, and heal up following the season. No surgery needed. He's roughly six weeks into the offseason. He's spent some time in Nashville, but I know he's also spent a good chunk of time back home in Honolulu.
Victor Silva from Medford, Oregon
Question: Hello Jim. Am a big Titans fan since back in the Warren Moon days with the Oilers... I have two questions for you.
1) Do you think we should go after Antonio Brown in a trade? I think that would address our need for a vet receiver to teach and mentor our young receivers. I think he would be a great #1 receiver for Mariota and Corey Davis would benefit from being under his wing and make a great WR#2.
2) Do you think another 9-7 season or worse in 2019 and Marcus Mariota having another sub-par season and missing the playoffs will have us looking for another quarterback in free agency or the draft in 2020?
Jim: Hey Victor. Well, a part of me is intrigued by the thought of Brown – he's a heck of a player, someone who could change the offense. Another part of me can't see it, because he's proven to be a disruptive force. Any team interested in him would have to be convinced he wouldn't be a problem like he was in Pittsburgh. As for Mariota, I don't think his future is tied to a record. Hey, I'd take 9-7 if it gets you in the playoffs and puts you in a position for a run to the Super Bowl. Remember, the 9-7 Giants got hot and won Super Bowl XLVI.
Leo Croom from Mililani, Hawaii
Question: Why don't the Titans use a 3 receiver set no huddle with Mariota calling the plays at the line? Seems like he could use motion to show coverages and stick defenses in bad matches ups more frequently. Nickel set with 2 safeties high-here's Derrick Henry, Extra safety in the box -let's go over the top. 3 linebackers - throw to the receiver with a linebacker on him.
Jim: Hey Leo. I'll pass this to new OC Arthur Smith!
Larry Hughes from Castalian Springs, Tennessee
Question: Hey Jim, I wrote last year about a better option than MM8 but of course you didn't print it. So here we are (again), same old song and dance. MY advice, tank the season and grab the best QB in 2020 because we will be in this same position after MM8 goes down (again). All the excuses need to stop, this is a business and we are not doing so well. Cut your losses and move on. My question, "Isn't the urban dictionary definition of insanity doing the same thing over and over again while expecting different results?"
Jim: Hey Larry. Believe me, I've let countless folks state their opinions here, good or bad, including plenty who are down on Mariota. Even if I don't agree, I've let folks speak their mind. Not sure anyone will agree with your ridiculous "tank the season" logic. And when I look up words in the dictionary, I don't go to the urban dictionary first. But thanks for your opinion.
Jaime Stickles from Dover, Tennessee
Question: So I believe that the first part of the season we threw it so much to see if Mariota is our guy going forward but in my opinion I do not believe he is worth 100 million dollars. He can't stay healthy and he still makes rookie mistakes. What's your opinion of trading him for picks and drafting Kyler Murray and starting over?
Jim: Hey Jamie. Thanks for taking the time. In my opinion, Kyler Murray is much more of a question mark moving forward than Marcus Mariota…
Victor Salis from Kailua Kona, Hawaii
Question: Aloha Jim! Since the Titans have picked up MM8 for another year, does that mean he will get paid the same salary based on the avg. over his initial contract? Also, is that the same as a franchise tag or how any "rookie" contract can be extended? I think Titans have made a great deal since other teams would pick him up in a heartbeat. I just get p.o. about reading some Facebook comments from supposedly Titans fans who want another QB because MM8 has faced injuries. He has many records from his very 1st game and throughout his career and has played through his injuries this year. People forget other QBs in this division have gotten injured and lost much playing time, such as Watson getting hurt in practice and Luck missing a whole season. I was a Ram fan from kid time but have been a Titan fan since MM8 has come to Tennessee. If they played in the Super Bowl I would be cheering for the Titans. So Titanup real fans!!!
Jim: Aloha Victor! By exercising the fifth-year option on Mariota's rookie contract, he's scheduled to receive a base salary of $20.9 million in 2019 – that's the average of the 10 highest-paid quarterbacks in the NFL.
Jordan Marbury from Birmingham, Alabama
Question: Howdy there Jim! I just finished looking at all the possible chances of the Titans winning a SB next year through the power of the time infinity stone and it looks good, but it was only on 2 conditions: The Titans grabbed an edge rusher in free agency, picked an OG 1st Rd in the draft (because there aren't any big name OG's in free agency), and a WR in the 2nd Rd (because 1st rd WR talent will drop to the 2nd round due to all the defensive players being grabbed in Rd1). Now I know you don't have a time stone to see what I see but being the Senior Writer for the boys is the next closest thing, so would you agree that makes a ton of sense? By the way, i think the new OC has the mind stone because when he said we were going back to the twin TE set we had in 2017 and also involving a variety of other schemes he read my mind. Give him a hug for me would ya? Thanks for all your hard work Jim!
Jim: Hey Jordan. An interesting formula, I must say. My question is: Did you get one of these stones in the Battle of Titan?
Justin Scott from Brookport, Illinois
Question: Hello Jim! Thanks for all you do in the Titan community. My question is how interested are the Titans in Golden Tate?
Jim: Hey Justin. Well, I'll be interested to see myself. Obviously the team wasn't interested in giving up a third-round pick for him in October, when he went from Detroit to Philadelphia. I still think that was too much for half a season. Now that he's scheduled to be a free agent, things could change. I remember watching Golden play in high school at Pope John Paul II against my alma mater, Father Ryan. He's had a heck of a career. I'm sure he'd probably love to finish his career back home. The GM doesn't usually show his hand on guys he's interested in, so we'll have to wait and see…
Have a great weekend everyone!