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Tuesday Mailbag: Jim Wyatt Answers Questions From Titans Fans After Loss to Bengals


NASHVILLE – It was a frustrating Sunday at Nissan Stadium, as the Titans dropped one against the Bengals.

Across the board, the team didn't get the job done.

Now, it's on to Philadelphia. I'm sure there will be plenty of A.J. Brown talk this week.

But first, let's talk about what happened on Sunday.

Here's the link to submit questions: CLICK HERE

Rob Haye from Burlington Ontario Canada
Hey, Jim long time Oiler/Titan fan, and reader of your weekly q/a and submitted a couple along the way.
Another tough loss on Sunday and everyone will say we let that one slip away, with too many mistakes across all the board, but reality is, if our second half offence and play calling doesn't get any better these 1 score close games are always going to be coin flips, when they don't need to be, and luck is not always on your side. Defense can only hang on for so long keeping you around in close games. Clearly CIN had a plan to bottle up Henry and it worked, and we made no adjustments, we didn't go up tempo, nothing, we just kept trying to run the ball, which put us in bad 3rd down situations, 3 and outs and used up valuable clock time. 3 red zone trips and we don't even throw the ball into the end zone? Hate to point out as well, that all our wins came against teams with below 500 record and all 4 losses against teams with a 500 record, and last 6 games are 3/3 in terms of record and don't sleep on Jag's as an easy win..Not going to be easy finish for our Titans.

Jim: Good to hear from you again, Rob. I must point out the Titans have beaten one team with a winning record – the Commanders (7-5). But yes, they haven't fared well against the better teams on the schedule and that's going to have to change. Keep in mind the Titans were pretty good against eventual playoff teams in 2021, only to lose in the first round of the playoffs last year. So what happens in the regular season doesn't necessarily mean the same thing will happen in the postseason. The most important thing is to be playing well at the right time, and that's the mission moving forward.

Omar Parker from Bay Area, California
Hey Jim. Warning! Rant coming:
Hope your Thanksgiving was better than that Turkey of a game against Cincy. After probably the best called game by Todd Downing we had a stinker. We got manhandled at home. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over yet there we were "Henry up the middle"..anyways my comment is more about our philosophy of playing to our strengths. If we want to play old school bully ball, everyone knows it starts in the trenches. After a few years of O line whiffs in the draft JR should have gone out and done whatever was needed to bring in O line talent. Instead we got Dennis Daley. I feel sorry for D. Henry because it's starting to look like we are wasting his best years ala Detroit with Barry Sanders or Megatron. RT as well, people want to blame him, but when your running for your life it's hard to be your best. If we want to commit to this style of play then our management needs to commit to having the best line available or they are just fooling themselves and short-changing us fans. There, rant done. In any case Titan up and fingers crossed we don't lay an egg against the birds. Thanks for taking the time to listen Jim!

Jim: Thanks for the heads-up at the beginning, Omar. I'm sure a few of these are coming.

Jack Walker from Calabasas, California
Hey Jim. Question and a comment or maybe a question. Does anyone else notice than Derrick Henry seems to have lost a couple MPH off of his top gear speed? All year it seems like he's getting caught from behind 20+ yards down the field. Doesn't seem like we saw so much of that previously. Number two, on a day when the defense run-blitzes you and DH is averaging 2 yards per carry, should the offense call more pass plays? This loss bothered me a lot more than the KC or Buffalo losses... I REALLY wanted this one.
Finish off with positive words. Treylon looks great, appears to be the "real deal".

Jim: Hey Jack. I don't necessarily agree with this on Derrick. I thought he looked fast in the open field on Sunday. And, the guy didn't catch him from behind – he was already downfield when Derrick caught the ball, and came in from the side. As for calling more passing plays, I think everyone was frustrated to see him tackled over and over in the backfield, and probably couldn't help but think how more passes on first down might've helped. But I also know what this mailbag looks like when Henry doesn't get the ball enough. I've discovered there's going to be second-guessing no matter what.

Chris Berry from Cleveland, Tennessee
The good: Titans group sales (shoutout to Bryanna Graham) was awesome for our group of 22 and several players were great to come over during warmups and sign the kid's jerseys.
The bad: That game was hard to watch. We got handled on the line of scrimmage and missed opportunities just took the life out of the place every time we got any momentum. Maybe the worst ever ending of a game from a fan entertainment perspective.
Question: When you look at our offensive rankings (yards or pts per game); we are bottom 1/3 in the league. Every other team close to us has losing records. Do you think the "gotta do better next week" mantra will stay for the whole season or is there appetite to make changes to try and find a spark before playoffs get here?

Jim: Hey Chris. Glad to hear the positive experience in pre-game. I'm sure Bryanna appreciates the shout-out. … As for the game, believe me, there have been worse endings at the stadium … As for the "gotta do better next week" mantra and making changes, I think the HC has proven he'll do that when he feels it's necessary. And, let's be honest with ourselves - I doubt he's making changes based on what folks, including myself, are saying in here.

Lucas B from Hoosick Falls, New York
One of the biggest things that stood out to me in Sundays loss, was inability to get off blocks and pressure Joe Burrow consistently. I felt like there was some frustration from the Titans D-line because of that. Would you agree that the team needs to scope out a FAST/POWER edge rusher in the future to create some havoc off the edge and also take some attention off Simmons?? Bud Dupree had a play or two, but it didn't look like he had any power or speed coming off the edge from what I saw. I feel like Tennessee was a player away (edge rusher like a TJ Watt or Nick Bosa type with speed and power) from creating more opportunities for the defense while easing some pressure off the guys on the back end covering. Titans can't seem to beat ANYONE with a winning record this year. I noticed both against the Bengals and the chiefs, Titans weren't able to capitalize on opportunities to make their lead 2+ possession scores which they really need to do against those high power offenses. It's week 12... and you still hear the excuses on why they can't figure out how to capitalize on those opportunities. It's feeling like deja vu, with playoffs getting closer! Fingers crossed. Thanks for your time!

Jim: Hi Lucas. I thought the Bengals did a good job of putting together a plan that allowed Joe Burrow to get the ball out quickly. In spite of that, I agree the pressure still should've been better for the Titans. … And being picky here again, but let's stop spreading the 'can't beat ANYONE with a winning record' take because it's incorrect.

Matt Montanaro from Vaughan, Ontario, Canada
The inconsistency with this team is mind boggling and worrisome at the same time. How do you go out to Lambeau Field and dominate the Packers then come home and put on a show like they did on Sunday in front of your home fans? It seemed that Todd Downing reverted back to his reality. Do you think his off-field issues hurt the team? I am not saying offence was the only issue because clearly the Defense had its own issues.

Jim: Hey Matt. This is a fair question. Part of it, of course, is the opponent – the Bengals are better than the Packers. Downing's off-field incident had zero to do with what happened on Sunday.

Cody Connally from Detroit, Michigan
It's getting hard for me to watch Big Jeff play recently. It was obvious last week against the Packers and this week that his ankle is bothering him more than we think. He isn't winning at the line of scrimmage like he was before his injury and Sunday, on multiple occasions, he wasn't hustling to the ball carrier like he normally is. I saw him slow jog and he NEVER does that. I get it, dude at 75% is better than anyone else we have at 100%, but I feel like we need to rest him down the stretch for a playoff run. I know we need to win each week but maybe we can rest him once we have the AFC South locked up for sure? (If that happens) IDK. But this version of Big Jeff isn't gonna be able to carry our front 7 in the playoffs like we need him to, if he's only able to play at 75% or less. This loss wasn't on him, that's just one of my observations/concerns on the day.

Jim: Hey Cody. Keep in mind Jeffery has been playing hurt, on the injured ankle. It's caused him to miss a lot of practices. I've seen him limp through the locker room or across the tarmac after some games because it's bothering him so much. But I certainly wouldn't question his effort. And, let's face it, if you want to see the team win games you don't want to see him in street clothes on the sideline.

John Clark from Chesapeake, Virginia
Hey Jim & Titans fans! What a tough loss! I had my hopes set high on this game. I must say Burks is really starting to make me believe he could be just as good as Aj Brown. My only gripe is the offensive line still can't perform up to standards on a consistent basis they have way to many weak links and that should have been taken care of during the off-season knowing we wasn't gonna be able to keep Saffold and since Lewan is a waste of a spot on the roster. Also #21 McCreary is the weakest link on our defense I don't think he could cover his nose when he sneezes! He's constantly getting us beat and anytime a team needs to score or get long yardage on they throw it to his side! I wished they would've searched high and low for a veteran replacement during the free agency. A little disappointed with the lack of discipline with the penalties our Titans are racking up this season especially the bone headed penalties! I'm sure Coach Vrabel will address it and we plan for next week because I really want us to cream them Philadelphia yard birds next week! As always Jim thanks for keeping us up-to-date even if we agree to disagree sometimes! I pray we can fix the holes in this sinking ship before playoffs in the post-season!!!

Jim: C'mon, John. This falls into the overreaction column. McCreary gave up some plays on Sunday, but he's been mostly good this season. Using the one-liners on him is a waste of one-liners.

James Kaufman from York, Pennsylvania
Sitting here after another big game letdown. I can't help wondering why did we let go of Josh Lambo when he was steady as a kicker? Who are we legitimately better than outside of our division in the playoff picture? Why is it the players don't seem to care when they lose anymore? For example Strong single handedly cost us a chance to win then proceeds to laugh and joke with Bengal players after the game? Where is the coaches to light Strong up? I miss the Bill Cowher era. No accountability it seems anymore. I guess we will be happy with just getting in the playoffs and bounced out right away.

Jim: Hey James. I got a few of these questioning why Lambo was released. Did everyone forget he missed one of his four extra point attempts against the Packers? Yes, I know Caleb Shudak should've made that 35-yard kick. But let's not turn Lambo into Adam Vinatieri. … And give me a break on Kevin Strong costing the Titans the game. You're assuming the Titans would've driven the length of the field with no time outs in the final 1:53 after they'd scored just one TD on 10 possessions the entire game. There were a lot of reasons why the Titans lost the game.

Steven Douthitt from Palestine, Texas
: Hey Mr. Jim. My question is why do Tennessee fans complain about EVERYTHING? This is a good team, not a great team. Why can't they just enjoy another playoff appearance? This was a game the Titans should have lost. Cincy is better. The Titans are beat up & missing key players. Am I the only fan that sees this? Yes, at times, some plays are questionable. Yet that can be said for the best teams in the league. Week in & week out the Nashville folk seem to fuss about Ryan, Vrabel, Downing or whatever they can find. Us long-time fans see the bigger picture. I also, personally hate that my Oilers went to such an unappreciative town. People sell their tickets for a profit to visiting teams, then fuss about no home field advantage. As a Texan, I ask Nashville to be a better fan base before you cry about every little thing. Appreciate your team & stop being a bunch of bed wetters. Thanks Jim, hope you had a great Thanksgiving.

Jim: Oh man, Steven. Coming in hot here. Hey, I appreciate the fans, and them airing out their emotions in here. They do it because it means a lot to them. But I'd be lying if I said some of the stuff I hear/read after losses can sometimes be over the top.

Jim Williams from Lubbock, Texas
Hi Jim. Tough tough loss to the Bengals, especially since they were missing both Chase and Mixon. All the injuries to the defense may finally be catching up with the Titans. The defense was fairly good, but not good enough. The offense has really missed Ben Jones. The leadership and line adjustments he makes can't be replaced, no matter who the next man up is. Hopefully, Ben will be back for the Eagles game. Now for my question: should Dontrell Hilliard be getting more snaps at RB? He provides a real change of pace from Derrick Henry and it might be a good idea to give Derrick a few more breaks in each game. Maybe Dontrell could be for the Titans what Tony Pollard is for the Cowboys. What do you think?

Jim: Hey Jim. I like Dontrell as well, and think he brings an added dimension. I'd like to see him involved more as well, and I admit having Derrick and Dontrell on the field at the same time would be intriguing.

Charles Johns from Hermitage, Tennessee
Hey Jim, thanks for this outlet with Titans info. Tough loss to not get a shot at the final drive because of the penalty. No need to even contest that field goal because make it or not we needed a touchdown to win. The Bengals outplayed us in the ground game on both sides of the ball and that was the difference in the game. Today we needed a healthy Tannehill so he could have been more involved in the run/scramble game.
Question: I know we won't be a run by committee team but on these days when Henry is getting stuffed why don't we give another back a shot? Sometimes a different style of runner has more success certain days for whatever reason. Hilliard only had 2 carries but averaged 8 yards per carry. Why not give him more carries when it was evident they were selling out to stop Henry and being very successful at it? What are your thoughts Jim?

Jim: Make that two votes for more Hilliard.

Marshall Long from Greenwich, Connecticut
Hi Jim. I'm a big Titans fan and I was at the Bengals game. I saw that the Titans were very predictable on offense. When Derrick Henry was in, it was a run or short pass, when he was out it was almost every time a pass. Wondering if the Titans playbook is as predictable as I thought or not. Thank you!

Jim: Hey Marshall. Hope the game didn't ruin your trip to Nashville and you were still able to enjoy the city.

Michael Miles Sr. from Lavergne, Tennessee
Jim hope you had a better time at the game than I did. All I can say is we did not play good offense or good defense or good special teams. Henry did not have a good rushing game ( 17 carries for 38 yards) but to defend him the Bengals were keeping seven eight or nine people on the line or within five yards of the line and our o line could not open a hole for him. Our defense could not stop their passing game. They got to throw the ball wherever they wanted to. We could not stop having penalties but then yet we do that every game. We have to wake up and play better ball or we are not going to have a good December. Oh yes I would say the wind hurt us but it was blowing for both teams so we can't use that as an excuse. We have to get better.

Jim: No lies detected here

Margaret Berry from Nashville, Tennessee
Why do you let the coach run Derrick Henry on the same play when it is not working? He only averaged 2.5 yards per carry. It's no wonder they lost. I feel sorry for those who went to the game expecting far better. Has the team reached anywhere close to making the Super Bowl. No and they never will not with the play calling like (vs the Bengals). Not when they have already lost to the Buffalo Bills and to the Kansas City Chiefs and now to the Cincinnati Bengals.

Jim: Hate to say it, Margaret, but the Titans also lost to the New York Giants as well

Alex Land from Cookeville, Tennessee
Any update on Racey McMath? He was really taking the top off of defenses in preseason.

Jim: December was always going to potentially be his month. It's almost December, so we'll see what happens. I suspect we'll see Kyle Philips before Racey, though.

Scott Taylor from Dayton, Ohio
Greetings Jim. Hope that you and family are doing well and had a good Thanksgiving?
I was enjoying a wonderful holiday and wknd until Sunday afternoon. It's bad enough I never get to watch the Titans live unless it's prime time OR they're playing the Bungals and I have earned the right to call them that. Until the Titans was a team in Tenn I loved to watch football but really rooted for no 1 so when Tenn my home state got the Houston oilers and later became the Titans I have been a die hard hard core TITANS ASSHOLE. And I will own up to it.
To get to my question I would like to say I seen several missed holding, false starts among other things and the reff blatantly miss ? And the 2 calls on the Titans 1 for roughing the passer I think it was Hooker? But he clearly missed him. But the call stood?
And then the field goal kick. Yea you kno the 1. Even in slow mode all I could see was his own team mate hit him. Not Strong.
So to get to my question.
Coaches hold players accountable
Players hold players accountable
Who the hell holds the refs accountable??
If not someone should I believe that games would be reffed a helluva lot better.
I understand that they can't see everything but some blatant missed calls on the visiting team??
Jim as always prayers for you & yours. And thanks for everything that you do.

Jim: Hey Scott. I hear ya. The league office is supposed to hold the crew, and the head of officiating, responsible. But those guys make mistakes just like the coaches and players do. I'll say this, though – the Titans didn't lose that game Sunday because of the officiating. They flat-out got beat. And, I do think Strong and Teair Tart both could've been flagged for hitting the long snapper on that play. I think it was the right call.

John W from Nashville, Tennessee
Is there ANY HOPE that when the opposing QB has more /almost as many running yards than Derrick Henry, that maybe, just maybe, we might change our offensive plan. Insanity is repeating the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.
Oline is tough and obviously there are many factors. But the passing game can open up the running game.
Take what the defense gives you? Is that a preposterous concept?
As i was writing, they just did play action to T. Burks for huge gain. And again--but just once-- when they got the ball to DH on the other side of the line and he got it going. But they blew the game. On key plays Bengals brought in an unblocked LB on the Titans left side and tackled DH for a loss. As good as a QB sack. Bengals did that 3-4x. Even TV announcers mentioned it. Against a playoff caliber team they have to improve the offensive plan/play calling. Finally please keep up the good work you do for us fans. You're a good man Jim Wyatt!!

Jim: Appreciate it, John. I always love getting the in-game emails. 😊

Steven Crosio from Brick, New Jersey
Hey there Jim, after what happened against the Bengals isn't it time to panic?
Week 13: @ Eagles
Week 14: Vs Jaguars
Week 15: @ Chargers
Week 16: Vs Texans
Week 17: Vs Cowboys
Week 18: @ Jaguars

Jim: Thanks for the remaining schedule, Steven. And, no.

Teisha Adams from Saratoga Springs, Utah
What happened to our defense?? They missed several plays, tackles and gave them numerous fouls!!!
What happened to the offensive?? We could not do anything and that team is not that good!!!
Really worried about the rest of the season with this kind of performance!!!

Jim: Wasn't a banner day for sure, Teisha.

Douglas Wiggins from Kettering, Ohio
Another tough loss, I live in Bengal country so I have to listen to all the crap from last year and Sunday's game!! The play calling again shows no imagination. When Henry is getting stuffed all the time don't you think you should pass the ball? Burrow seemed to pass the ball on most first downs, five, six, seven yard gains. When Tannehill threw quick passes it seemed to work. As smart as these coaches are, shouldn't you pass when you cannot run? Unless something changes, they should win the division but who knows if they can go any farther than that.

Jim: Hate that for you, Douglas. Bengals fans appear to be pretty obnoxious.

Dion Miller from Minot, North Dakota
Hello Jim, not a lot to be thankful for after that loss. The Perine stiff arm set the tone from play one, we got outplayed in every aspect, disappointing for sure. The King could never get on track and the second half woes continued with a whopping 6 points. My question is, is there any stat that shows how many times Henry carries the ball in a spread-out offense? It seems he only gets carries when we have 2 or 3 TE on the line. It looks like we only have one formation for him to carry the ball, as of late. This Downing offense is so blah and predictable, that it is getting hard to watch.

Jim: Sorry I don't have that stat, Dion. But I do agree – the game was frustrating watch. I never had a great feeling about it. Stay warm in Minot!

Carol Thomas from Chattanooga, Tennessee
I'm not going to question the play calls although if past criticisms are any indication there will be plenty of that. I simply hope the team will shake it off and get ready for the next game. I also hope Bullock, our kicker, will be healed enough to return next week and if not maybe put Stonehouse in as the kicker. TitanUp!!

Jim: Good to hear from you, Carol. Glad to hear you're not a doubting Thomas 😊 ...

Jonathan Humphrey from Rumsey, Kentucky
Hey there Jim! Again thank you so much for all that you do for the Titans! Sorry, I know I'm a lot more upbeat when I write in, but as you are probably going to get a LOT of negative emails about the same question I will go ahead and ask anyway: Why in the world did TD keep calling for Henry to run off the backs of his teammates time and time again if its not working quarter after quarter??? I mean even after the 3rd Quarter someone should have stepped up and said " know this isnt working and we are down in the 4th bout we try something else??" Because the rest of the fan base and the entire world was thinking the same thing. Heck, even my elderly mother who knows nothing about football happened to be at my house watching the game with me and she asked "why does that guy (HENRY) keep doing that when he doesnt go anywhere???" LOL My reply was "EXACTLY!!!" I know a lot of people are calling for Todd Downing's dismissal and I am one that has defended him saying he has done some great play calling in the past but now I have to just ask WHAT WAS HE THINKING???? We got Philly coming up and I hope he has a better idea than doing the same ole same ole against one of the best teams in the league. Either way, I'll be there rooting for our team. Thanks again Jim! GO TITANS!!!!!

Jim: Thanks for chiming in, Jonathan. Hope your mom is doing well.

Robert Tucker from Clinton, Tennessee
Hi Jim, TITIANS fan for life, I see why Annalist always picking other teams over TITIANS because they cannot be Trusted. the leadership here is not to be trusted, on one hand the head coach spoke out of his mouth we have the formula, meaning a method for winning and the OC is just BAD in play calling. here me out if you ask anyone in the Organization or around the NFL league what do the TITIANS do best on offense and they all will say, RUN the ball is what the TITIANS do better than all NFL teams. but the TITIANS are not committed to the run, because if you are committed to running the ball you will find as many was to run the ball with the best back in the NFL. form using a full back on the fill with DH or having two back set looks to change up at times for a different look, we will have a GREATER CHANCE TO WIN by running the ball.

Jim: Way to close us out, Robert, I guess.

Have a great week everyone!

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