NASHVILLE – It's been quite a run already for the Titans -- from 2-4 to the AFC Championship Game
But there's still plenty of work to do to reach the ultimate goal.
This Sunday's opponent is a really good one in the Kansas City Chiefs, who haven't lost a game since they left Nashville on November 10. The Titans are going to need to play well once again.
I know fans are excited, so let's dive into another mailbag.
Kickoff is five days away …
Victory Gurley Sr. from Virginia Beach, Virginia
Question: Hello Jim, thanks for all that you do for the TITANS fans. I ALWAYS read your articles and mailbag. I've never written in. I just have a story to share. I have a son who turned 9 years-old on the 8th of January. He ask me if we beat the Patriots, could we go to see the TITANS play in Baltimore for his birthday present. I of course agreed, so after we beat the Patriots I started looking for tickets that I could afford. I found tickets on craigslist, I got scammed out of a few hundred bucks. I didn't want to tell my son Daddy couldn't take him. We drove up to Baltimore on Saturday and I was fortunate enough to get 2 tickets for the game. After the game we went to the rail behind the TITANS bench and I was just hoping my son could get an autograph. Well Jim thanks to one of the TITANS great staff personnel, a man reached into the TITANS game ball bag and gave my son a TITANS game ball. THANKS SO MUCH to that guy. My son will NEVER forget this birthday and will be a life-long TITANS fan. GREAT GAME and GREAT Gift. Jim pass along our appreciation. I'm out of a few hundred dollars BUT a priceless experience with my son. TITAN UP! "Why not US?"
Jim: Hey Victory. Man, what a story. This email had me on a rollercoaster. Sorry you got scammed – Craigslist is a dangerous place to buy tickets. But what an ending! Glad you witnessed such a great game, and your son had a great birthday. Great job by you!
Chris Long from Holmdel, New Jersey
Question: Well... I'm not sure whether I have a question or just a pour of emotions. I grew up in Pawcatuck, CT.. not too far from Foxborough. All my friends were Pats fans. I was born in '80 and grew up an Oilers fan. I can't even explain how hard it was growing up next to a dynasty and watching my friends relic in it. Enough about that.. I went to the Wild Card game with one of those friends. Hell yah!!! I didn't get to go to M&T, but hell yah!!! I will be going to … the AFC Champ game. I think you do a good job answering questions, but i don't really have one. Titan up and #TakeEverything! P.s. i got to give Henry a high five in my Earl Campbell jersey at Foxborough!!!
Jim: Thanks for taking the time, Chris. See ya in K.C.
Marge Barrows from Paris, Tennessee
Question: Road trip planned for Kansas City! Would love to do a walk to the stadium with other fans singing "We are the Titans, mighty, mighty, Titans" Any input on co ordinating this? We have come a long way on this journey, GO TITANS!
Jim: Hi Marge. Well, it's a great idea. This has usually been organized by Titans fans on the pedestrian bridge in Nashville. Not sure about a walk, but I know a big tailgate has been planned and I'm sure it could be discussed there. During the 2017 season's playoffs, there was a huge turnout of Titans fans so I'm expecting to see a lot more this weekend. Below is the info on the tailgate…
Conway Tabor from Crossville, Tennessee
Question: Now that we are in the AFC Championship game, what percent chance will Adam Humphries will be able to go? I just feel like he is needed again. He helped us beat the Chiefs last time.
Jim: Keep an eye on Wednesday Injury Report. Adam hasn't practiced since November 29, the Friday before the team's game against the Colts, when he suffered the ankle injury. So to say he has a chance to play, heck, I need to see him on the practice field first. Titans coach Mike Vrabel sure wasn't giving up any hints on Monday when asked about Humphries.
Ryan Estep from Columbia, South Carolina
Question: I had an absolute blast in Baltimore Saturday!! Thank you for the info on the pregame rally and Titans tailgate. This week the trip is to Nashville to enjoy a victory with fellow Titans fans. My only question is what are the odds of this week's watch party being at Nissan Stadium? TITAN UP!!
Jim: Have had a lot of fans ask about this. There will not be a watch party at Nissan Stadium. The watch party this week will be back at The George Jones and Nashville Underground on Sunday. I've heard great things about the atmosphere there, and the videos I've seen have been amazing. The event will be free and open to the public. You should join the party.
Joan Dutton from Cerritos, California
Question: Hi Jim, thanks for all your insight on fans questions! My 2nd time writing to you. Please Jim explain why the media still do not believe in Tannehill and rest of the team? Look Henry is remarkable no question but the whole team comes to play and without the whole team playing it wouldn't matter what Henry does. Why doesn't the rest of the team get their dues? Thanks Jim!
Jim: Hey Joan. Good to hear from you again. I actually think the media is sold on Tannehill, locally and nationally. How could you not give some praise and props to a guy who led the NFL in passer rating and has guided the team into the playoffs? I have noticed there's still a portion of the fan base – and it's shrunk dramatically in recent months – that still needs convincing. Some folks on Twitter who wanted to trade barbs on the QB change subject back in October have disappeared. But it's all good. And with back-to-back wins over the Patriots and Ravens, I believe the Titans, as a team, are getting respect as well.
Bill Spokane from Spokane, Washington
Question: Mr. Wyatt, May I ask you to see if QB Tannehill or RB Henry would be willing to trade paychecks with me next season? How on earth are the Titans going to fit those two and RT Conklin - and QB2 Mariota? - within the salary cap? Thanks!
Jim: Hey Bill. These are offseason questions, and the offseason continues to get pushed back…. 😊
Franco Grassi from Boca Raton, Florida
Question: Hey Jim long time no write... Gonna ask you to do a little digging here. So I know that under Vrabel we are undefeated when tied or leading at the half, wanted to know if you could find out exactly how many games total it is? And I want to say that shows great coaching and adjusting and Vrabel should be consider for Coach of the Year honors.... Thanks for everything can't wait to watch us in the AFC Championship game next week. #TITANUP
Jim: Hey Franco. Yeah, ol' Mike has turned out to be a pretty good coach, huh? The Titans are now 15-1 when tied or leading at the half under Vrabel -- 10-1 when leading, 5-0 when tied.
Nick Katenkamp from Baltimore, Maryland
Question: Hey Jim, could you give a newlywed some advice? I'm a huge Titans fan and the biggest Titans game in decades is this Sunday, which just so happens to be my wife's 21st birthday. She's so excited for her birthday and I want to make her day perfect but how can I pull my attention away from this game?? How do you think I should play this situation out?
Jim: Oh man, Nick, this is a tough one. Well, I've been married for 27 years, which you might find really hard to believe because that really dates me and gives a hint on my age. He can't be that old, right? Well, keep in mind I got married when I was 11, so I'm not as old as you might think. 😎 … I'm really fortunate to have an understanding wife who has allowed me to put my work schedule and my sports fandom first probably too many times. Hope your new bride is a trooper like mine. As a Titans fan, you can't miss this game. As a newlywed, you can't miss this birthday. So, what you need to do is start the birthday festivities on Saturday night. Make it special. Then fix her breakfast in bed on Sunday morning. Have a dinner planned for Sunday night. Get her a nice gift. This should soften her up for you to be able to enjoy a 3 hour stretch to watch the AFC Championship Game on Sunday. If you're getting bad vibes and she's not going for your plan, then move to Plan B: Come down with a sudden case of the flu, tell her you're contagious and you don't want to get her sick on her birthday, and then retreat to the bedroom to watch the game in bed.
Brandon Green from Nashville, Tennessee
Question: So many thoughts, so little space. Let's ignore the fact that Derrick Henry is making the case that he's ALREADY one of the best RBs in the history of the NFL. Let's ignore the fact that our offense has been so efficient that we haven't even TRIED to kick a field goal since losing Succop. Let's ignore the fact that our offensive line is playing OUT OF THEIR MINDS. And let's ignore MMCNB.
Ignoring all of that, here's the 3 points I'd like to make about this team coming off these last (really 3) playoff games:
1. Goal line stands- I don't have the data feeds to figure this one out, but has there ever been a defense that has had this many clutch yard-to-go stops in a single season!? Against the Chargers felt lucky at the time- now it's apparent that these guys are really that good. I just can't believe how impending our run defense has been in short yardage situations!! Daquan and Correa deserve a ton of credit on top of the obvious Jurrell and Jeff. And...
2. Rashaan Evans holy cow!!! This guy was a stud at Bama, don't get me wrong, but he's looking like a crazy hybrid between like a Patrick Willis and Troy Polamalu!! The instincts he has to snuff out plays (especially in the run) but also the sheer athleticism to shoot a tiny gap and stop a play dead... it's unbelievable. This week he added another fold- basically spying Lamar Jackson for most of the game and (besides that 1 run he got where rashaan went for the sack) making him use his arm to the point of frustration. I mean this is basically the league MVP and the top rushing offense in the league that Rashaan helped shut down (no matter what Lamar's stats may say).
3. Arthur Smith- I wrote in sometime around the Broncos game saying that I loved the risk we took on hiring internally with him, but that he was a total bust and it was time to cut our losses. I have never been so happy to be so wrong in my entire life. Seriously. Ignoring the fact that he put together the most dominant rushing attack in the league, and took Tannehill to one of the most efficient passing seasons in NFL history (QBR and completion %). He did it in style. For as long as I can remember, the titans offense has been "run it up the middle on 1st & 2nd, and then incomplete pass on 3rd and ~8." Somehow, that is still mostly true, except it's 3rd and ~4 and we complete the pass, and all the while our offense looks fresh and unpredictable. I mean we're doing the same thing as always in a lot of ways, but Smith has not only made it work, but makes it look unexpected and arguably exciting!!! And the fun, cool plays that get set up by it are a thing of beauty. Just watch us hit the next team with a 350 yard passing day for Tannehill! lol!
This has been such a fun season, and I can't wait to see what's next. Like the guys said- we ain't done yet!!! TitanUp
Jim: Good take, Brandon. You're on the money.
Bob Winterberg from Sheboygan, Wisconsin
Question: Hi Jim. Been a long time Oiler Titan fan since Kenny Stabler was QB. Great win on Saturday and hope for two more. My question is do you think that Art will throw a few more trick plays in for next week?
Jim: Hey Bob. Arthur always has something up his sleeve.
Some of the trick plays he's been working on, I can't tell you any specifics, so I'll just use an emoji: 😮.
Jack Wilkerson from Hobbs, New Mexico
Question: Been a fan since the days when Earl Campbell was going out of his way to hit anyone between him and the end zone. For my birthday my wife used to send me to Houston for my birthday present, a live game.
I can't help but wonder why, when Lamar Jackson's new first name seems to be Probable MVP, is Derrick Henry's name not even in the conversation? Nothing against Jackson, but I don't think any player in the league has had more influence and value to their team. I know I'm biased, but damn...
Jim: Hey Jack. Derrick has made a pretty good case for himself, huh? Led the league in rushing, and now has the Titans in the AFC Championship Game. But the MVP trophy is a regular season award, and Lamar definitely did some pretty incredible things himself on a team that finished 14-2.
Steven Tilton from Safford, Arizona
Question: Hi Jim, I hope you enjoyed last Saturday's game as much as I did! Before I ask my question, I have to admit that I am consistently being proven wrong about Mike Vrabel. Though I doubted some of his decision making (mostly during that first year), this Titans team is EXTREMELY well coached. They played disciplined, hard football and didn't let any of the outside noise affect their game. They were ready to play and I attribute that in large part to Vrabel (who has lots of playoff experience) and his staff preparing the team. For my question, there is much to be said that our passing attack has not been strong enough to take us all the way. However, I am under the impression that our passing game the past 2 days has been by design. It feels like Vrabel (and staff) have very deliberate plans against each specific opponent. As I understand it, the Patriots and Ravens both have phenomenal secondaries, so we deliberately gameplan a different, more effective way to win vs those opponents. In the next game, who is to say we don't light it up in the air if the matchup is right? (I think we've proven to be capable of doing that this season). Does this theory hold much water, or am I overthinking our players simply making more plays than the other team? In other words, Is the 'chess match' between coaches real? If so, it feels like we are winning. Thanks for all you do Jim, and for keeping this mailbag going through the postseason!
Jim: Hey Steven. I hear ya. The problem I had with so many people having a problem with Mike earlier is everything was based on his aggressive approach, and some risks he took that didn't work. Well, there's more to being a football coach than decisions on whether to go for it on 4th down or to run a fake punt. Mike has been great at delivering messages week in and week out, and he's been great at having players buy in. I think that's been on full display of late. And I think it's safe to say this is a well-coached team.
As for the passing attack, why throw it all over the place when you don't have to? And anyone who thinks the Titans, and Ryan Tannehill, can't do it based on what has happened in the playoffs didn't watch the team in the regular season.
Carter Cheeseman from Fort Worth, Texas
Question: Hey Jim, huge win for the Titans! Very proud to be a two-tone blue fan right now. I'm not gonna lie and say I wasn't nervous but I felt the whole week that we were gonna pull this one out. Question/ comment about our D. In the last several games of the regular season our D was kind of our weakness and the O was carrying the weight. The past two games I've been beyond impressed with our D and their clutch playmaking. Seems to me that Adoree being back has been crucial as he can play one on one with any speedy guy, opening up more opportunities for our safeties to blitz or in Lamar's case maybe spy the QB. Also Brock seems to have really come into his own in our system, great acquisition by JR! But perhaps the biggest thing I've noticed on D the last couple weeks is the combo of Big Jeff and Super Jurrell! When they are together on the field good things happen. I don't think I've ever seen as many goal line stands/ 4th and short stops in back to back weeks. Of these three things which would you say has been the biggest contribution to the success of the Titans D?? Have a good one! On to.....
Jim: Hey Carter. Adoree' has made a big difference, but across the board the unit is playing well. And defensive coordinator Dean Pees has dialed up some really solid plans. I'm not going to give credit to one aspect of the defense, just because I think they all work together. And across the board it's been really good. The last three games – Texans (scored 14), Patriots (scored 13) and Ravens (12) – have been exceptional. Based on the current trend, the Chiefs should score 11. 😊
Now that's going to be hard to do, but I think you'd take it, huh?
Chris McGowan from Cape Girardeau, Missouri
Question: Great win on Saturday. I have been a Titan/Oiler fan since the team was led by another second chance QB and another Heisman running back. I am talking about George Blanda and Billy Cannon in 1960! If the Titans win next weekend, will The Titans have Super Bowl tickets available for season ticket holders?
Jim: Hey Chris. Here's the 411 there based on an email that went out to season ticket holders on Monday:
With Saturday's win over the Baltimore Ravens, the Titans will now play in the AFC Championship game on Sunday, January 19th at 2:05PM CT against the Kansas City Chiefs.
Should the Titans advance to Super Bowl LIV in Miami (game scheduled for Sunday, February 2nd), the team will conduct a random drawing in which PSL Holders will have an opportunity to purchase Super Bowl game tickets.
All current PSL Holders are automatically eligible - separate notification is not required.
If you are a winner, you will be contacted via email on Monday, January 20th no later than 12:00PM CT. Each winner will have the ability to purchase two (2) Super Bowl tickets.
A link will be provided for you to login and pay for your Super Bowl tickets via your online My Titans Account.
IMPORTANT - Tickets not paid for by 5:00PM CT on Wednesday, January 22nd will be immediately released to the next PSL Holder in the ticket lottery.
ENTRIES IN THE LOTTERY ARE AS FOLLOWS:
Current PSL Holder = 1 entry per PSL owned
Founding PSL Members = 1 additional entry per PSL account
Club Seat PSL Holder = 1 additional entry per Club PSL account
Tickets for Super Bowl LIV start at $950.00. Once you have paid for your tickets online, you will receive an email notification about claiming your tickets at Nissan Stadium.
Photo identification is required to claim Super Bowl tickets.
Tickets are intended for the PSL Holder of record and are non-transferrable.
Alternate pickup names are not permitted.
Tickets must be claimed during designated pickup times at Nissan Stadium (times TBD). Tickets cannot be claimed in Miami. No refunds or exchanges.
Jennifer Cantu from Stuttgart, Germany
Question: Hello Jim! Most people don't hesitate when asked, "where are you from?" But those of us who are privileged enough to call ourselves a military family member aren't most people. My husband and I grew up on opposite coasts and neither of our sons were born in the same state. But, phrased differently, if you ask us where's home, all four of us would undoubtedly answer the same- Nassau county, Florida.
After relocating to two different duty stations in northeast Florida, we absolutely fell in love with Nassau county and purchased what we hoped would be our forever home there. I was lucky to join the school district as a guidance counselor at a local middle school, and quickly became acclimated to life in a tight knit community. I saw the love that exuded from neighbors who supported each other like family and felt honored to call myself a part of it, looking forward to my sons growing up there.
Working with a range of students is the job of a guidance counselor, and each one demonstrates their own unique strengths. Derrick Henry was one such student and even if you didn't have him in your class or your office, you knew who he was and got the sense that he was destined to do great things. My specific memories of the time he was enrolled in the school where I worked are fuzzy, but they include how his reputation preceded him and how the football coach would bring his birth certificate along to games in case anyone questioned his age based on his size. I remember he was a hard worker and I remember how everyone encouraged him to dream big and work hard.
My oldest son loves to tell the story of the night Derrick won the Heisman Trophy. We had already moved away and returned to Nassau county, but strong ties to the community allowed me to keep informed with his progress after he graduated high school. Admittedly I am not the biggest college football fan, but Derrick wasn't your average college player. Rooting for him was one way for our transient family to connect with the community we call home. When they called his name, I screamed so loud that I woke up my alarmed son. Fortunately he knew it was Derrick's big night and quickly fell back asleep.
Military life sent us overseas for the past three years, but rooting for Derrick and the Titans has once again given us a connection back home. And even though Derrick is living far from home, we can see how much he's working to stay close to the community by giving back every chance he gets. I can always count on faraway friends and loved ones back home in Nassau County to cheer him as I scroll through social media feeds. We're cheering for him, too, even when games start at 2 AM local time.
Good luck on the championship (and Super Bowl), Derrick! We can't wait to see what the future brings for you and we are so proud to be a part of the Nassau community with you- even if we're all far away from home!
Jim: Thanks for sharing your story, Jennifer. And for all the sacrifices you and your family members have made and continue to make. Derrick has made a lot of folks proud, and happy, during the course of his playing career. And some others sad, too… (Patriots, Ravens …).
Saleh Hindieh from Nashville, Tennessee
Question: Can you ask Henry something for me. When he turned Earl Thomas around with his stiff arm why did he not go for like 20 yards more after Earl was his lead blocker? Great game and keep running Henry against Chiefs. When I watch Henry I call him 18 wheeler because he drags people backwards.
Jim: I think I saw a few memes on this…
Have a great week everyone!