NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Welcome to the bye weekend.
The Titans might not play, but this mailbag is still in play.
Let's get right to it…
Albert Gardner from Dallas, Texas
Question: Hey Jim, I wrote last week about my wife surprising me with a trip to the London game and to see my daughter that's in school over there. I just wanted to say wow what an unbelievable time I had over there. London is such an amazing city and what a great place to go watch a football game. I truly felt like I was at the Super Bowl. The fan turn out of not only the Titans but all the other teams as well was just incredible. I met fans from Nashville, San Diego, Germany, Switzerland, and Amsterdam just to name a few. The results of the game was not what I was hoping for but man what an exciting game it was. I agree with a lot of fans that they should not have gone for two after the first attempt and the play calling could have been better there, but what I don't agree with is all this talk of firing Vrabel. The man is trying to win the games for us and needs time to grow as a head coach. Give the man a break everybody! I know I'm rambling, however I do have one question and it's directed at the fans today: Do you guys really think that after losing Delanie Walker, Rishard Mathews and have all these injuries pile up that our team will just be able to overcome that without any hiccups along the way? I think everyone needs to temper their expectations and just enjoy the season. Oh and btw, Mariota is a franchise QB! I hope everyone sees that now. Thanks Jim for all you do for the fans. Enjoy the bye week everyone! Hope to see y'all at the Cowboys game... I know I'll be there! P.S. I got to meet Eddie George and Jevon Kearse while I was there! I couldn't be more happy about my time in London!
Jim: Hey Albert. What a great wife you have! I agree – London is an amazing city, and the trip was memorable. Only the ending of the game was a disappointment. I actually liked the decision to go for two. I understand the backlash on the play call because it didn't come close. As for the talk of firing Vrabel, it's nonsense. The guy has coached seven games, and is just getting started. Give me a shout if you see me in Dallas!
Ricardo Gibbs from Miami, Florida
Question: Hey Jim. Since we didn't get Amari Cooper, which the cost was too hot, I'm not upset. How do you feel about Patrick Peterson? I feel a 1 rd pick would be a no brainer for him but I have a trade package that should work for us and them.
Cards get: Logan Ryan, 2019-1st rd ,2019 conditional 3-4rd
Titans get: Patrick Peterson,2019 6th rd.
We can even swap or Malcom Butler here but I like him more even though he's given up some costly touchdowns over the past weeks thanks again.
Jim: Hey Ricardo. I appreciate the question, but I'm not down with this. Way too steep and bigger areas of need on team.
Angela Holland from Huntsville, Alabama
Question: Hey Jim. My husband surprised me for my 60th birthday with tickets to the MNF game in Dallas!! Are there any Titans activities planned around this game? We would love to attend. Also, I wanted you to know I love your take on all things Titans! I always feel encouraged after I read your reports! Thanks for all you do!!
Jim: Happy Birthday Angela. It should be fun. I know there's a lot going on outside the stadium in Arlington on game day, so you should get down there early. As far as other events go, there's a gathering for Titans fans on Sunday night, beginning at 7 p.m., at the Grease Monkey. The pregame party is being organized by a group of Titans fans from Houston, but I'm sure fans from Nashville and beyond will show up there as well. The address: 200 N. Mesquite Street, Arlington, Texas, 76011.
James Swift from Fairview, Tennessee
Question: Hey Jim. Wanted to encourage Titans fans to stay positive over the bye week after 3 straight losses. Even with all of our injuries (Mariota, Lewan, Rashaan Evans, and Vaccaro just to name a few), we're still 2-0 in the division within a VERY manageable AFC South! Three primetime games in the next six weeks to look forward to as well! Hope that Titans fans will continue to be proud of their team. Also as far as uniforms, will the icy whites be making an appearance any time?? I know they're a fan favorite. Thanks Jim!
Jim: Hey James. Thanks for taking the time. You're right about the division – it's wide open. But the team needs to start letting these opportunities slip through their grasp if it's going to happen. The Texans won last night, so the Titans are now 1 1/2 games back. Stay tuned on the unis.
Carlos del Valle from Queretaro, Mexico
Question: Hola Jim. Al inicio de la temporada el equipo estaba justo con los WR y TE, es decir, no faltaban pero tampoco sobraban. Luego al lesionarse Walker y al irse Rishard, ¿porque es que no se ha contratado suplentes de la misma calidad?
Jim: Hola Carlos. Bueno, como saben, esos muchachos se perdieron en la temporada, y Delanie fue lastimada, mientras que Rishard simplemente renunció. Delanie fue una derrota especialmente dura, porque es casi imposible de reemplazar. Los Titans necesitan que los hombres se pongan en su lugar. Obviamente, es un trabajo en progreso.
Jim Thesimp from Nashville, Tennessee
Question: When do you suppose the Titans will ever find receivers who can actually CATCH the ball? How different could this season be if not for key drops in key situations?
Jim: Guys definitely need to be more consistent, and the drops have been costly. Look around the league and you'll see receivers are guilty of drops – Odell Beckham dropped one in his hands in the end zone last week. Unfortunately, the Titans have had more than their fair share.
Dan Kittrell from Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Question: Dear Jim. I'd like to start by saying thank you for putting in all the hard work that you do to answer fans questions. You do a great job.
I know that there have been many upgrades to the facilities at Nissan Stadium. Do you know if they upgraded the water supply? That's the only reason that I can come up with for the struggles the Titans seem to have every year. There's got to be something in the water.
With the talent they have in the locker room, there's no other good reason for their lack of performance.
Jim: OK Dan, I let you shoot your shot. Looks like an air ball to me ... :)
Harry Maltby from Shropshire, United Kingdom
Question: Hi Jim from the UK. Long time reader and 2nd time asking a question. Firstly though, being a UK fan I have to say how much I appreciated this weekend and all the efforts the Titan organisation put into a truly unforgettable experience for all us fans across the pond. Meeting Eddie and Kearse as well as Amy Adams Strunk who were all so friendly and willing to chat and have a laugh and sign my Byard Jersey. It was just amazing so thank you! Also huge praise to AAS who took time to really talk to us and how great it was to come over to the UK. I loved meeting her and the rest of us Titan fans from the US and all over the UK. Anyways, going into the bye who is the one player that you think really needs to step up for this team to be successful in the 2nd half of the season. Sharpe seemed to make a good effort to be that man in London and hopefully that continues. But who do you think should be the next one to make the leap?
Many thanks for everything you do for this team and loving the OTP too! Titan Up! Harry.
Jim: Appreciate it Harry. I think we all enjoyed the experience, and were happy to be there. I'd love to go back! As far as one player that needs to step up, I'm going to say Derrick Henry and the running game as a whole. I know I expected it to be one of the strengths of the team, and so far that hasn't been the case. Across the board, the offense is going to have to do more, from Henry to Marcus Mariota to the receivers. At the bye, the team has been held without a touchdown in three of its seven games. Down the stretch, the inconsistencies on offense need to improve if this team is going to be a contender.
Randy Fuller from Porto, Portugal
Question: Hi Jim. Like many Titans fans, I'm extremely disappointed in our passing game through the first 7 games of this season. I've been a long time MM fan and it's disturbing to see what seems to be a reluctance to throw the ball and trusting his receivers to make plays. While I'm sure that the blame for the poor performance should be shared, the whole receiving corps looks below NFL average performance. The drops and fundamentals like not getting their head around are particularly poor. It struck me while listening to the team intros during the Sunday night game that the Titans don't have one receiver from a major FBS powerhouse school. I found some studies that show that small school WR have poorer NFL performance. I know there have been plenty of exceptions where small school receivers achieved top performance but I just wonder if the current group is too much of a long term coaching project in spite of their draft day measurables to pull the Titans up out of 29th in the league in passing offense. All that leads me to believe that the Titans should make a deal for an established WR talent to salvage our season. I know your opinion on Dez (and I agree) and was going to suggest Amari Cooper until the Cowboys snapped him up. My question is, how are the Titans positioned to make a significant trade before the deadline (talent to trade, owners pockets, cap space, draft picks)?
Jim: Hey Randy. I agree it's been a disappointment, and it needs to improve. I suspect the GM was interested in Cooper, but a first-round pick in 2019 ended up being too steep. Could the Titans still make a trade? It's possible. But keep in mind the team already traded a sixth-round pick in next year's draft for Kamalei Correa.
Kyle Kelley from Carterville, Illinois
Question: Hey Jim, thanks for doing what you do to keep us fans informed about everything going on... I have a suggestion or an opinion more than a question, but I was thinking that maybe it would help Henry get free more if we spread it out for him. Maybe go 3 receivers 1 tight end and Henry in a single back set. His best run against the Chargers was 3 receivers out of the shotgun he gained 9 I believe. It seems like any time Henry comes in the game we go with 3 tight ends and 1 receiver which is allowing the defense to put 8 or 9 in the box every time. Lewis' running lanes have been when we spread it out a little bit. Just my observation and opinion. Thanks Jim
Jim: Thanks for taking the time Kyle …
Stew Braun from Bel Air, Maryland
Question: I've heard everyone complain about Mariota, receivers, Henry, Malcolm Butler etc. I don't get many games in Maryland but I've been fortunate enough to get 3 this year so far and catch some on the red zone channel. It seems obvious to me that we are losing the games at the line of scrimmage. Guard and center play have been atrocious. Moreover we are getting zero pressure rushing four. Dean Pees blitzed a lot more in Baltimore. I think Orakpo/Morgan have used up most of their good snaps in the league and we need better interior offensive line play if we are to get to the playoffs. Any potential names out there that could be added on either side of the ball?
Jim: Hey Stew. I think it's a case where the guys on the roster – and the coaches – are going to have to get it done. I don't see any changes in the interior line coming during the season. Morgan should be back in the coming weeks to help on the outside. But a young guy like Harold Landry is going to need to come of age, hopefully sooner rather than later.
Richard Rogers from Hendersonville, Tennessee
Question: Regarding the 2 point conversion attempt to win the game, I thought I noticed on the replay we had a receiver open just over the goal line. I realize he might not have been the primary receiver but it appeared to me a quick toss to this receiver would have given us the victory. Sorry I wasn't able to identify our open man on the play. Just curious if anyone else saw what I saw.
Jim: On the first play, Dion Lewis was open and waving his arms, but Mariota didn't see him. Lewis was also open – but Mariota had his back to him – after being in motion on the second try (after the penalty).
Ed Blackwell from New Britain, Connecticut
Question: Hi Jim, I'll keep my question short and sweet because I'm sure after this last loss you're going to be bombarded with questions lol. Anyways, my question is, with all the injuries and issues we've faced so far this year, is there any sign of us making a trade for anyone before the deadline? I know J Rob moves in silence, but the curiosity is killing me! Lol
Jim: Well, I've said before that nothing the GM does surprises me. I know he's been involved in some discussions in recent weeks, but we'll have to wait and see if anything comes to fruition.
Seth Knott from Cape Girardeau, Missouri
Question: Hey Jim. I'm a first time writer. My question is concerning Marcus Mariota. I see all these "Titans fans" criticizing him all over social media, saying, "time to start looking for a new quarterback"," He's a bust"...etc.
I'm a huge Mariota fan myself and I tend to ignore ignorant comments. If I'm being honest for the Tennessee Titan community, last year and seeming to be this year as well, his stats aren't "stellar". With Vrabel being named head coach, this will be Mariota's third head coach in four years... I'm not saying it's an excuse for years past, but it doesn't help. Do you think the Titan's organization will keep him for years to come? I really hope so. He's a great team leader, great football player and a better human being.
Jim: Hey Seth. I know I still believe in him, and some of the things you mention – all the coaching changes – have definitely impacted his development. Ultimately, the decision will be made by guys above my pay grade. But I've heard nothing to make me think anyone has lost confidence that he will be the team's franchise quarterback for years to come. To help his case moving forward, of course, he's going to need to stay healthy and perform at a high level to close out this season.
Chris Chapman from Hermitage, Tennessee
Question: Hey Jim! Man, what a way to bounce back from a bad game vs. a very good Ravens team. I saw our guys play with heart and a sense of urgency. That to me is a win in itself even tho we didn't actually win. I'm glad coach went for the win on the 2 pt try; so the play didnt work. How does anyone know for sure if a running play would've worked? We dont know... Everybody and their bro has spent the week dogging coach for the 2 point try as well as the play selection. I believe we have a good O.C. calling the plays from the booth; I think he saw something he liked. Its time to move on folks.
We have a bye week at a very good time this year I think. Hopefully we can get some guys back healthy for the 2nd half of the season and make a run for the division title. I know the trade deadline is coming up next week and ive been seeing analysts talk about us needing to part ways with Brian Orakpo, whats your take on this? Do we really need to let go of a guy who's been playing pretty well for us? At 32 yrs old he's still playing good football. His stats are a lil off this year but I believe we need the leadership and continuity in defense. I know you've been asked about a couple WRs so I'm not gonna ask about them specifically. My question is, do you see any receivers available that could help us and our young group? I think we have a great bunch of WR's who just need some veteran leadership and most of all a giant shot of confidence! As always thanks alot for all you do! Thanks for putting up with all the rude disgruntled fans here! Ive got a msg for Coach: DO YOUR THANG BRO!
Jim: Hey Chris. Appreciate the email. Well, it was an improvement, but this is a results league and you've got to find a way to win it. Unfortunately, it didn't happen. The good news is the team is still very much alive in the AFC South, but obviously it better start winning games. As for Orakpo, his contract is up after this season. We'll have to see how that one plays out. He's been held without a sack so far this season, but has said himself he expects to close strong. As for the potential of adding a receiver, I've hit on this. I'm sure the GM is looking, and I won't rule it out.
Have a great weekend everyone!
Titans players met with reporters before heading into their bye weekend. (Photos: Gary Glenn)