NASHVILLE – It's hard to believe, but we're closing in on the end of training camp – and the start of preseason game No.2.
It's going to be a busy week in Nashville, with the New England Patriots in town for joint practices at Saint Thomas Sports Park, and a game on Saturday at Nissan Stadium.
But first, another Titans mailbag…
E Moss from Nashville, Tennessee
Question: Will any of the Titans vs Patriots practices be open to the public?
Jim: Both of them will be open to the public – on Wednesday and Thursday, from 9:50-noon each day. Come on out. It's free.
David Kennedy from Hytop, Alabama
Question: I must have missed it. What is happening to the kicking game?
Jim: Ryan Succop is on the team's Physically Unable to Perform list. In the meantime, kicker/punter Austin Barnard has been handling field goals and kickoffs. The simple fact the team hasn't signed another veteran tells me Ryan will be ready for the season opener, and coach Mike Vrabel said recently he expects as much.
Francis Butts from Spring Hill, Tennessee
Question: Why does management continue to consider Taylor Lewan to be indispensable to the o-Line? Just because he was a mistaken first round draft pick 5 years ago and is basically a "look at me" type player? Been watching his detrimental antics too long!
Jim: Hi Francis. You're certainly welcome to your opinion about Taylor's personality – some seem to love him, and it sounds like there are some, like yourself, in another camp. But to call him a mistaken first-round pick is off base. The guy has been voted to three Pro Bowls in his first five seasons, so he must be doing something right.
Kenston Farmer from Memphis, Tennessee
Question: Hey Jim! Any chance in the future that training camp practices or at least a portion of them are live streamed to the fans that can't make it out to?
Jim: Well, Kenston, the team did it in the past. In 2014, to be exact. Not sure it will happen again, but never say never, right?
Tom DiGangi from Boston, Massachusetts
Question: Hi Jim. After the Titans thrashed the Patriots in Nashville last November, Dion Lewis called out Patriots management saying that they were "cheap" and essentially saying that when you don't pay players (Lewis, Butler, Ryan, et al) what they're worth "you get your ass kicked." No big deal there as he's not the first former player to recognize that the Pats can be stingy when paying players (see Wes Welker, Asante Samuel, Vinatieri, et al). But he also called out his former teammates saying that "I know those guys. I know that if you get real physical with them, then they'll quit." Its highly unusual for a player to call out his former teammates like that. I'm wondering if anyone has ever questioned Lewis about this latter statement or whether anyone in the media will question him about same when the Patriots visit the Titans this week. Thanks.
Jim: Hey Tom. Well, I do remember Dion calling the Patriots cheap. He was worked up from the game and emotional after the win. At some point in the week that followed, he expressed some level of regret for being so outspoken, saying he didn't mean to offend or disrespect anyone. But it hasn't come up this week so far, and personally, it's old news to me. Too much other stuff is going on that relates to the here and now.
Tina Carpenter from Franklin, Tennessee
Question: What are the Titans going to do about Channel 2 not showing our games? Are there plans in place to try to move to a different channel? As a season ticket holder, this is very disappointing.
Jim: This is a Channel 2/Nexstar/DirecTV issue that's impacting Titans fans, and I get the frustration. I mentioned this last week: Folks have a few options still to watch the games. In market, fans can stream the games online at Titans Online, or on the app. Out of market fans will have to subscribe to the league's Game Pass. All the info can be found CLICK HERE.
Richard Donnell from Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Question: When the Titans play the Browns next month, do you think that game will last around 7 hours? I hope not for everybody's sake.
Jim: You're referring to last year's season opener in Miami, of course. I sure hope not. Hope I'm not jinxing it here, but I think the chances of severe storms and lightning are probably less in Cleveland than in Miami. I'm just happy to be going to Cleveland in September and not December.
Randy L from Bristow, Virginia
Question: Hey Jim..thanks for all your work informing us out-of-staters about the Titans! My comment is about MM8. I hope he has a completely healthy season because of what a great role model he is. I've only had one jersey in 40+ years of being an Oilers/Titans fan and it says "Mariota" on the back!!! MM8 is sorta like the MJ of football in my eyes as long as he stays healthy...he does whatever is needed to win and it's usually exciting. His positives far outweigh any negatives. I know it's a business but I really wish we would have shown some good-faith and extended him. At any rate, I love everything about the team from the owner to the GM to the coaching staff to the players. It appears to me that CHARACTER means something to this organization and I am proud to be a Titans' fan!
Jim: Appreciate it. And thanks for sharing your thoughts, Randy.
Have a great week everyone!