NASHVILLE – Well, how about them apples?
In the Big Apple, the Titans let a winnable game escape their grasp in an overtime loss to the New York Jets.
My inbox started filling up fast during and after the game, and hey, I get it.
I'm not going to make any excuses in here about what happened. Mainly, I wanted to let you air out your frustrations, although the expletive-field rants didn't make the cut.
Let's just get right to it ….
Here's the link to ask questions: CLICK HERE.
Jeremy Friend from Erie, Pennsylvania
Question: What a pathetic performance on a supposedly "good" Titans team. It's embarrassing really. I honestly don't know how that's acceptable. Where was the "pressure". Every year we lose to rookie QBs and make them look like an MVP candidate. That's was poor play all around. I'm embarrassed for them. The offensive line has been absolutely terrible for 4 weeks in a row now. When do you make a change? It's upsetting as a Titans fan to watch this. The New York Jets? Really? It's almost laughable. I truly hope this humbles the team and we start to do something but hopes are low and I think I'm speaking for all fans. That game was truly hard to watch and we have a significantly better Jaguars team with another rookie QB. We always seem to play down to our opponents, that was NOT Titans football. Not really a question just a rant but we have all the pieces to be a great team… why aren't we a contender?
Jim: Hey Jeremy. I received dozens of emails just like this one. I included some, but not all, because I figured it got to the point where we were beating a dead horse. Do a word search on "embarrassed" in here and I think you'll discover that was the most popular description of the game from fans. … What happened on Sunday wasn't acceptable. The Titans had no business losing to the Jets – they're better than the Jets. But the Titans earned their L with some inconsistent play, and now they'd better get things fixed in a hurry.
Dyllan Beard from Centerville, Tennessee
Question: I'm a Titans fan blue and true. Now when are we going to start prioritizing the things this team actually needs? First thing we need to get something out of Taylor Lewan like a trade for someone that's not a liability or some picks to help us at draft time. Second can we please stop running the I on first and second down then trying to pass our way out of a bad situation. We are a team that's different from most NFL teams we need to established the pass to set up the run. Last thing from me. We don't need any more big star off-season signings. We need to build up our young guys and get an offensive line that can actually protect our guys Tanny has been great when he has protection. The issue is he can use his star power because they can't even stop teams like the Jets and the pass rush they have.
Jim: Hey Dyllan. I'm not going to bash Lewan like a lot of folks have. He's too easy of a target right now. Could he play better? Yes. But if he's been as terrible as you say, then why would other teams want to trade for him, and how much do you think the Titans could get in return? And, on Sunday, you do know all those sacks weren't on Lewan, right? As for the Jets pass rush, their issues haven't been on defense. But allowing seven sacks, like the Titans did on Sunday, gets you beat.
Andriy Lakusta from Edmonton, AB, Canada
Question: Hi Jim. Thanks, as always, for keeping us long distance fans informed with your daily articles, reading them has become part of my routine. No questions today, just a comment. It's been a while since I've written in, but after this last game against the Jets, I couldn't let it pass without a comment. A loss to the Jets? Really? One simple word comes to mind, EMBARRASSING!!! There is a reason that the Titans never get national attention, or mentioned as Super Bowl contenders, and that's because of games like this, and last year against the Bengals, and Broncos in 2019, and Dolphins in 2018, and I could keep going. Every year, there seems to be at least 1 loss against a team that they should beat, and handily, and that's been across multiple regimes now. Yes, we have some injuries, but "next man up" is what the Titans keep preaching. They don't want to use it as an excuse, so I won't either, especially when they play one of the worst teams in the league. The O-line is terrible at pass protection, Tannehill is one of the most sacked QBs in the league. I still see a lack of sack production from our D-line, yes, they get pressure at times, but QBs still complete passes under pressure, not good enough for a supposed "improvement" over the off-season. And, well, we saw the big plays, and penalties that went against our new defensive backfield, with our "big" secondary signing, Jenkins, looking horrible and like he didn't have his head in the game, especially for that big play in OT. And what was up with the clock management in OT? They were taking their time between plays, like all they had all the time in the world, and all they wanted was the tie, and we know how that worked out. I hate saying it, but this doesn't look like a contender for anything at this point, heck the "easy" AFC South is by no means a guarantee. I still hold out hope that coach Vrabel can turn this around as it is still early in the season. As I mentioned earlier, not an excuse, but we do have a bunch of banged up players, so the team should improve as they come back. It is the AFC South, so if they beat the teams in their division, they should at least get to the play-offs, and anything can happen once you're there. Let's keep working, and improving each week, the season isn't lost, we can still do this, but we have lots of improvement needed in a lot of areas.
Jim: Hi Andriy. You're right – the Titans don't look like a contender at this point. If the Titans play like they did on Sunday the rest of the way, they won't be in the playoffs. With that said, it's a long season. We're not even at the quarter mark. But some things need to get fixed in a hurry, because the upcoming schedule is tough.
Edward Spellis from Toledo, Ohio
Question: Can there be some clarification on what the defensive scheme is supposed to be? I've never seen a team play so far back (off coverage) more than Tennessee since the start of last season (no coincidence, Tennessee has been near the bottom of the league in most defensive categories since then). They did not do this prior to the start of last season. Every other NFL team plays a consistent, aggressive in your face style but Tennessee continues to play soft despite the down and distance the majority of the time.. One of many examples in today's game came from OT with a 3rd and 3 and the CB playing 8 yards off, followed by an easy wide open short throw and catch because the coverage was (obviously) no where close. If the idea is to let QBs make easy, quick, short throws to underneath wide open WRs all the way down the field then mission accomplished I guess.
Jim: Hey Edward. Not sure I'd agree with the "every other NFL team plays a consistent, aggressive in your face style" part of this, but I do agree what happened against the Jets wasn't very impressive. Their rookie QB got way too comfortable, and had way too many open receivers. And some of the completions were way too easy. Vrabel said on Monday he's going to challenge his DBs to play closer to the line of scrimmage in some of those scenarios you mentioned.
Arnold Garza from Corpus Christi, Texas
Question: ACCOUNTABILITY…that is what it comes down to so far with this year's version of our beloved Titans. Having been a fan since the late 70s early 80s, too many times have I been let down and the time is now for this team to make a stand, come together as a unit and not waste all the current talent here. Jim, do you not agree that some form of change needs to be made? Whether its personnel or coaching staff, something is broken and it needs fixing. Especially in this time of a "woke" culture, you have to make adjustments in play calling as in life, in order to be successful. I apologize, I know that football-imitating life is not a philosophy that is universally accepted, but come every Sunday, for a few hours in the fall, football becomes my life and I am passionate about this team. Ask yourselves how many times are you sitting there and predict the play and outcome for both our defense and offense? Jim something has to give, you do a great job of keeping us informed, and you have great insight on the heartbeat of this team, but are we as a fan base, looking at a glass half-full or half empty?
Jim: Hey Arnold. I'm not going to get into the "This guy needs to be benched" or "This guy needs to be traded" or "This coach needs to be fired" etc. And I'm not going to debate the "woke" culture you mentioned. But has this team been a disappointment so far? Yes. And it's up to the head coach and others to get it fixed. Certainly, getting guys back and healthy will help. But we all know every team deals with injuries. The good news is it's still early in the season, and there's time to get things figured out. Right now I still say the glass is half-full, but the Titans better hold the cup steady.
Eli Decko from Youngwood, Pennsylvania
Question: So, many of us would like to forget the 59-0 thrashing we took vs New England some years back. See, I remember it and remember how much better we were coached in that stomping than we have been versus this pathetic Jets team. You've gotta be kidding me. Shane Bowen needs to go. Downing is just DOWNING our offense into such pathetic and repetitive situations I could shut our offense down myself. I mean come on man. This is a team we should have put 30 on even without AJ Brown. See, how I also said a few emails back that Corey Davis is better than Julio Jones, yeah I was right there too. Who do I turn my resume in to for a shot at coaching this defense, or are they gonna be smart and give it to Schwartz?
Jim: Good to hear from you again, Eli. The Titans need to be better, no doubt, but let's not give the players a free pass in here. Plenty of players were in a position to make plays Sunday, and it didn't happen. There's plenty of blame to spread around.
Jon Frydenlund from Monroe, Washington
Question: First-time writer, and very frustrated Titans fan. Here are a couple questions and comments I have. First off we got rid of Malcolm and Adoree for Jackrabbit, who has been exposed almost every game, I don't see the logic in this move and not only did we get rid of Adoree we just up and cut him no compensation at all. Secondly I don't think the defense has been as bad as it was last year but we were definitely out coached this game, we looked pretty good in the first half and the second half we fell flat. Offensively the first 3 drives we were driving but sputtered in the red zone where we were known to be very productive the last couple years. I'm not saying that Todd Downing is a bad offensive coordinator but he has to draw up plays or schemes to adapt to the players we have on the field. I get that we were without key players both offensively and defensively, but it's not like they went down on Saturday or just before the game, why did and do we continuously fail to adapt our game plans? I don't even want to talk about the O-line we have been atrocious all season, I don't even recognize it from the last 2 seasons. I will always continue to support and cheer for our boys, but just a little ticked right now.
Jim: Appreciate you taking the time, Jon. I understand your frustration.
Cliff Cushman from Spring, Texas
Question: Jim, this is not a question so much as me playing devil's advocate to all the fans pushing the panic button or calling for coaches to be fired or players to be benched. I am not an apologist. We got beat. This team is not healthy & the matchups favored the Jets on Sunday. If you think matchups aren't important, go back and watch how the dominant Patriots lost two Superbowls to the Giants because the offensive line of the Pats was exposed by the front seven of the Giants. Tom Brady looked average as did Pat Mahomes last year. We have got to get healthy before we even know what we have. This team isn't healthy enough to practice much less play on Sunday. The draft class has made no impact, our starters are struggling with health and two of our top free agents are not fully recovered from injuries sustained last year. We still have to grind it out on Sundays and get wins until the team gets healthy. I do have one complaint. I don't understand all the soft coverage we play. This may be above my paygrade, but I would rather challenge the receiver and get beat than just give up those 5 yard passes and screens and wheel routes. I BELIEVE in this team. I BELIEVE in Mike Vrabel. We need to let coaches coach and players play. Above all else, we have got to get HEALTHY. TITAN UP!
Jim: Good to hear from you again, Cliff.
Terry Anderson from Edmonton, Kentucky
Question: Hello Jim, tough loss for sure. The defense is still struggling in pass coverage. Have any idea what the time frame is for Caleb Farley to play? 2 of the next 3 games are against elite quarterbacks. Titan up!
Jim: Hey Terry. Caleb is working his way back. The fact that he hasn't been placed on IR makes me think he's not too far away. But, he'll need to get back on track from a conditioning standpoint again when he is cleared.
Steven Williams from Ankeny, Iowa
Question: I am writing this question after watching the embarrassing, heartless performance by the Titans against the Jets so forgive me if I come of as angry...I am.
Why is it that, even in the days of the Houston Oilers, this team always seems to play down to the team they are playing that day? I believe, wrongly so, that the Titans should be able to play anyone competitively as well as beat most of the teams they seem to lose to. I can give several examples, as I'm sure other 'fans' can as well of how the Oilers / Titans appear to play down to the opponents...the Jets game is only the latest example. There is no excuse that can explain this embarrassing loss!!
I realize the Titans did not have their starting receivers, a punter that can only kick 15 yards and a defense that can't stop or even slow down anyone. It frustrates me to no end when the Titans have the league's best running back on the sidelines during a critical 4th quarter when protecting a small lead. Instead, the Titans chose to throw the ball for three incomplete passes and punt. I almost get the feeling that Coach Vrabel believes (wrongly) that he is smarter than every other coach in the league so he tries these ridiculous plays only to embarrass himself, the team and the fans. A pissed off, embarrassed 'fan'
Jim: Hey Steven. There does seem to be at least one a year, huh? When I saw the Titans settle for field goals again and again on Sunday, I thought to myself: This is going to be another one of those days. And yes, the Titans are dealing with a lot of injuries. But that still doesn't excuse what happened on Sunday.
Dave Warren from Columbus, Ohio
Question: I have waited until 90 mins past the end of the game to gather my thoughts instead of sending my email during the game. But, there's no sense in waiting any longer. We lost to the 0-3 Jets whose rookie quarterback had been harassed relentlessly to start his NFL career. On top of that, Corey Davis just had a PROVE IT game against his former teammates! Defense was bad, offense was horrible!! Special teams, didn't help. SEVEN sacks?? Really?? Sure, we were without our 2 best receivers. But, this wasn't because of them. This was poor play calling on BOTH sides of the ball and extremely poor discipline. After the first quarter of the season, the new coordinators don't seem to be up for the challenge and quite frankly, neither do the players. My question WAS, how is it the Titans ALWAYS play down to the level of their competition? Sadly, T. Davenport, beat reporter for "that sports network" answered it in his analysis. "The Titans have a way of playing down to the level of their competition, and that's exactly what they did this week against the hapless Jets. These are the games that a contender doesn't lose or even allow to be this close." Sadly, after watching the Jags play the Bengals tough, I don't have much confidence in a bounce back game against them next week.
Jim: I was impressed with what I saw from the Jaguars on Thursday night against the Bengals. The Titans better play better this Sunday or this mailbag is going to be overflowing with hate mail next week, too.
Dakota Houston from Knoxville, Tennessee
Question: Hello Jim, I hope you are doing well. I guess I'll jump in on that rough game.. wow… we deserved that loss and hats off to the Jets, they deserve credit for showing up- they wanted it more. Despite the negativity you'll get, I still believe in this management, coaching staff and team and think they can get it done, we just REALLY need all starters healthy but I guess that's part of the game. Fortunately for us, our division is looking rough so far, but I hope everyone can get healthy and we can get back on track. I do have one question: I know football is a game of passion and I notice that everyone seems to stay composed, do you see a lot of frustration or yelling on the sidelines or in the locker room during/after a loss? Just curious if the cameras don't catch as much passion on the tv or if our players do a great job with their composure. Thanks for the updates and as always, TitanUp!
Jim: Hey Dakota. I know guys are frustrated. I'm not allowed in the locker room after the games this year (COVID rules), but I do see the guys in the post-game press conferences, and I see them on the sideline. There's no doubt there's plenty of frustration. You could see it and feel it after the game. The Titans need to stick together and work through it, and as you said, they need to get some starters healthy.
Kev White from Salisbury, North Carolina
Question: Oh Jim! Any Given Sunday, right? I never would have imagined us losing to a young 0-3 Jets team. Maybe our offense need to start taking Claritin or Benadryl because they sure seem allergic to the end zone at the beginning of games and protecting Tannehill. But in all seriousness, we needed our WR1 and 2. How long does hamstring injuries keep a player out? Do you think we may add more depth at WR until Brown or Jones return? On a super positive, despite a couple blown coverages, our D played hard until they had nothing left. We've got to do better and be able to beat out wins in spite of injuries. Take care Jim, thanks for letting me vent!
Jim: OK, we've entered the joke-telling portion of the mailbag…
As for hamstring injuries, it depends on the severity. Some take longer to heal than others.
Mike Childrer from Houston, Texas
Question: Hey Jim. I was just wondering, do the Titans ever practice? I can't help but think that they would probably be a little better if they ran some plays together occasionally and took time out of there busy schedules to watch some game film. That seems to help other teams. Oh, I forgot, practicing in the NFL isn't popular. I guess I don't understand what these guys do during the week. Apparently, it doesn't include things like stretching either.
I don't know how you stand this. Oh, I almost forgot. You are getting paid to watch this. Good luck!
Jim: OK, we're getting off the rails a little bit now…
Carol Thomas from Chattanooga, Tennessee
Question: Why does it seem our team takes one step forward then two backwards?? Everyone seemed to be worried about our defense at the beginning of the year but now with Tannehill getting sacked as many times as he has, I am wondering what is wrong with our Offensive Line? If they don't start doing a better job of protecting Tannehill, he is eventually going to get hurt out there. To be honest it's a small wonder he didn't get hurt today against the Jets Defense. I realize everyone thinks Derrick can just plow over other team's Defense but even he needs better help than what he got today or he's going to get hurt and that would be a catastrophe for him and our team. Hopefully, everyone will shake this off, get healthy and injury free. There's still a long way to go. TitanUp!!
Jim: Hi Carol. The shaky o-line play has been a combination of a lot of things – injuries, poor technique, guys getting beat, etc. But you're right – Tannehill won't survive the season if this continues. He's on pace to get sacked 72 times.
Andrew Lee from Pleasantville, New Jersey
Question: Hey Jim! Avid reader of your work. Couple questions for you. I got to attend my very first Titans game in Jersey against the Jets! I was looking for you out there lol. It would be absurd to overlook the Jets because of their record, but it seems as though that was the case. After next week against the Jags, we have a very tough stretch ahead of us. My question to you is do you think AJ and/or Julio would have suited up had we faced a playoff contender team this week? Not taking anything away from their injuries as hammys are nothing to play with, pun intended lol. Also, almost EVERY drive King Henry gets the ball on first and second downs and then sits him out on third down. I understand the King needs a rest but it's beginning to look very repetitive. Do you think Todd has any tricks up his sleeve for this offense? We surely have the weapons. Henry touching the ball 30+ times a game shouldn't at all necessary. Thank you Jim for everything you do. TITAN UP ⚔️
Jim: Hey Andrew. Sorry you had to see that in your first game. I don't subscribe to the theory that AJ and Julio could have played, and the Titans felt like they could've beaten the Jets without them, and that's why they sat. I saw where some Jets said they were extra motivated because they felt that was the case. They're both hurt, and rehabbing the injuries. As for Todd Downing, I'm sure he'd like to have some calls back, just like players feel like they want some plays back after games. But like I said earlier, the blame can be shifted to a number of areas, and guys also need to play better. Yes, the receivers on Sunday weren't the team's regular starters, but they're getting paid well to be consistent, and that wasn't always the case.
Juan Coyote from CD Mexico
Question: Mr Jim espero se encuentre bien, se que todavía faltan 13 encuentros más y que podemos ajustar, sobretodo tener a nuestros jugadores sanos, pero si es frustrante que siempre los equipos que vienen de racha perdedora y con QB novatos nos ganen como Bengals en el 2020, por eso nuestro equipo no es tomado en serio como contendiente, creo que luego nos molestamos por esa situación de que el equipo no es respetado o no tiene reconocimiento, pero debemos iniciar tomando todos los partidos con la misma importancia, por ejemplo los Bills los partidos en los que se ven como un equipo con mejor roster los gana sin bajar la intensidad. Saludos y le envío un fuerte abrazo a la distancia
Jim: Gracias Juan. Escucho tu frustración y creo que muchos fanáticos de los Titans sienten lo mismo. Que tengas una buena semana.
Henry Martin from Kingsville, Texas
Question: Hello Jim. Ummm......not really going to comment on this lost, just gonna keep my thoughts to myself and let everyone else vent on this one. I guess the only thing I have to ask is honestly, do coaches and players read these comments that you post from us fans? I know most probably don't, just thought I'd ask.
MY MESSAGE TO THE TEAM AND ALL LOYAL FANS
***KEEP YOUR HEADS UP!!!!***
NOT ALL IS LOST
Jim: Hey Henry. I don't know if any coaches or players read the mailbag. I'm sure anyone with the team who does read it is probably happy to see your email, though, because the positive takes are few and far between this week.
Rick Pinkerton from Terryville, Connecticut
Question: Jim, I have a take on yesterdays game. It was only ONE game. Sure, we should have won it, but lets not hear all the negatives that come out on Tues, after a loss, We are a good team and will learn from this. We have 13 games left. Lets support our team, not tear them down when this happens. Remember, the players and coaches feel much worse than us. We can move on to Jacksonville with a new sense of urgency, knowing in the NFL on any given Sunday ANY team can win. Also, what a great comeback we had. It shows the character of this team.
Jim: Hey Rick. You and Henry should get together and share the positivity.
Mike Miles from LaVergne, Tennessee
Question: Jim thanks for hearing all you are going to hear about the Titans Jets game. I wish I could say I enjoyed it but I didn't. I wish I could say the Titans are headed down the right road but I can't. Seven QB sacks, to coin a statement "COME ON MAN". We need to get better QUICK. I won't give up but changes have to happen quick. Thanks Jim.
Jim: Thanks for taking the time, Mike.
Bradley Fields from Phoenix, Arizona
Question: Hey Jim, were you surprised to see us kick a field goal instead of going for it on 4th down towards the end of OT against the Jets? I feel like Vrabel has always had a win the game mindset, so that decision somewhat surprised me. Regardless I hope the team knows there are still fans here to support them, win or lose (or I supposed tie).
Jim: At that point, no. It was desperation mode – 4th and 10 at the 31 with 19 seconds left. It seemed like a tie, as awful as even that would have been, was the best option. I thought the team might go for 2 after the late touchdown in regulation, but Vrabel said he didn't consider it.
Dean Brickey from Rochester, New York
Question: I am a life-long Oilers/Titans Fan and at 53 have seen a lot of games. From the terrible comeback game of the Bills to the Music City Miracle. I just can't understand why we haven't brought in an expert for Defense with the powerful offense that we have. Our defensive backfield is a sieve with a missing screen, and promoting from within seems to keep bad habits alive. They made Zach Wilson look like the second coming of Joe Montana. Sorry for my frustration but enough is enough. Vrabel is supposed to be a defensive guy and I just don't see it. I understand that we have some young guys coming up and learning their way, which is part of it. There is no way Davis and company should get behind our D in a close game. That is just terrible coaching for it to happen more than once a game, especially in this game. Please pull me out of the dumpster after this loss from hell, (I live in NY) and enlighten me on how, or if, Vrabel can fix this. Is it time for a change? I don't think talent is the issue.
Jim: Hang in there, Dean.
Jordan Newbury, from Cushing, Texas
Question: I don't want to be negative because there's 13 more games to go. I also think "let down" games happen to good teams a lot more often than us Titans fans realize. Though the gravity far outweighs Sunday's loss, a good example of a let down game would be the 9-7 Giants beating a dominant Patriots team in SB 46. Even more shocking was the undefeated Patriots losing to the 10-6 Giants in SB 42. This one hurts because the Jets game plus next weeks game versus the Jags could have given us a little cushion for the tough stretch of opponents we have coming up. Having said that, here's the negative. I understand we have a new OC but we had an entire preseason and are now a month into the regular season yet the Offense, excluding King Henry, seems very discombobulated, predictable, and stale. I am curious of your take on what needs to happen/change to get over the hump and achieve consistent, winning football? Thank you, Jim
Jim: Hey Jordan. Not sure I agree with your comparison on the "let down" games. I don't know how a team in the Super Bowl could have a "let down" game. Those Patriots teams simply got beat, and, for that matter, so did the Titans on Sunday. I know there are all kinds of phrases for "let down" games and "trap" games, etc, but it all boils down to, 'Hey, this is the NFL, and if you don't show up and play well, you're going to get beat.' The Titans got beat on Sunday, and with a tough stretch coming up as you mentioned, they'd better get things fixed.
Lauren Christian from Nashville, Tennessee
Question: Why is it the offensive and defensive coordinators still have a job? They have terrible play calling!!! This defense is absolutely terrible... Taylor Lewan on the offensive line just needs to be dismissed....The absolute worst lineman in the NFL...when is the Titans going to invest properly in more players like Henry instead of the rejects of the NFL.. Tannehill should be more advanced and he can't even compete with the JETS!!!! They have a rookie QB at least they have an excuse but Wilson is more advanced it seems than Tannehill....it's absolutely disappointing but why is the Titans even in the league at this point. They are not on NFL level only amateurs.
Jim: Lots of shots fired in this one, Lauren, but some of this is over the top. But hey, the Titans opened the door for a lot of this by not getting it done on Sunday. I'm going to turn the page on the Jets game after I finish typing this sentence. There's another game coming up in five days.
Have a great week everyone!