NASHVILLE – It's finally game week.
The Titans kick off the 2022 regular season on Sunday against the New York Giants at Nissan Stadium.
Then, we'll be off and rolling.
Just like this mailbag.
Let's go …
Here's the link to submit questions: CLICK HERE
James Cunningham from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Question: Any pics or video of Flash Gordon in action yet as a Titan?
I attended several Chiefs camp days, and Josh looked good. Wouldn't know it from the biased Chiefs beat writers. And he must have used Shane Buechele's deodorant without asking to get no looks in preseason or the worst thrown passes ever. Watch the coach's film. Anyways, I'm now a Titans fan when not playing the Chiefs.
Jim: Hey James. Josh just practiced with the team for the first time on Monday. Dropping in a few clips below …
Jason Petty from Lebanon, Tennessee
Question: With Harold Landry going down, IMO it only puts more pressure on the offense to be better than middle of the pack or slightly above average. Landry was/ is a HUGE leader in our defense. My question to you is: Do you think Josh Gordon sees significant time or any time for that matter on the active roster? Or is this another Golden Tate situation from last year, and he just doesn't show the staff enough to be activated/ elevated to the active roster? Just a few more days until opening day and I'm praying daily we are great this year. Have a good 1 and TITAN UP.
Jim: Hey Jason. Hard for me to say whether a guy on the practice squad is going to get significant playing time. Heck, he's only practiced one day. With that said, I liked the looks of him on Monday. He looks like a track star with great size and upper body strength. Still, there's no guarantee he'll be active on Sunday, or any time soon. The reality is a lot depends on Josh and how quickly he gets up to speed with the playbook, on the same page with Ryan Tannehill, and into game shape. I don't think we're going to get all these questions answered in one week, so patience could be needed for Josh and fans. Stay tuned.
Joe Levickis from Joelton, Tennessee
Question: How do you think the running back rotation will sort itself out? Do you think we'll see Dontrell Hilliard in a Jeremy McNichols-like (almost strictly) third down role and Hassan Haskins in (a pre Henry injury) Foreman role spotting on first and second downs? I'm interested to see how things will be divvied up and to see what your thoughts are. Thanks as always!
Jim: Hey Joe. A lot will be determined by how guys perform. Derrick Henry is going to be the lead dog. I'm expecting to see Dontrell Hilliard a lot on third downs, in large part because he catches the ball well out of the backfield. He's looked like the more dynamic back behind No.22 to me. But Hassan Haskins showed improvement in camp. I think down and distances will determine how much/and when these guys play.
Eli Decko from Youngwood, Pennsylvania
Question: Hey Jim! The Giants are right around the corner and I couldn't be more excited. I can't help but wonder if it's going to be Weaver or committee replacing Harold Landry this season. I am super confident in Weaver and don't think it would be much of a drop off in production. What I really want to see is Bud Dupree show us what that 80 million dollars got us. I was very happy with his last few games and his speed is something not even Landry had. No offense to the Giants but even without Landry their offense doesn't bother me at all. My question to you is this though. Will the offensive line be able to block the front 4 of the Giants? Given even the slightest bit of time I see Tannehill absolutely demolishing thus defensive backfield of the Giants.
Jim: Hey Eli. I think it'll be a committee, but the better guys play, the more snaps they'll get. I think you'll see Rashad Weaver, Ola Adeniyi and the newest Titan, Derrek Tuszka, all in the mix. But keep in mind the team doesn't want Bud Dupree playing every snap either, so there will be a rotation on both sides. … As for the o-line being able to block the Giants, well, we're about to find out.
Brian Williams from Carteret, New Jersey
Question: Hey Jim, big fan of yours and lifetime Titans/Oilers fan here. Just have a quick question for you, I'm hoping I can get a lil insight from you. Seeing how Vrabel likes teams first guys on his rosters, do you see the titans adding some veterans via free agency to help bolster our offensive and/or the defensive line. I think it's becoming clearer that Dillon isn't going to be our starter especially seeing him struggling a bit in pass protection throughout the preseason. I myself wouldn't mind seeing us add Eric fisher to help out vets and young guys on our O-line, and also with Harold l going down for the year it would be nice to see the Titans add a guy like Suh or Sheldon Richardson to help bolster our pass rush. I know Bud will be back healthy at the start but his issue is staying healthy we haven't really seen him at his best but he'd gotta prove he can remain healthy enough to be a factor! Thanks for your time. TitanUp
Jim: Hey Brian. Appreciate the email. Dillon isn't going to be the starter – that is very clear. As for more help coming aboard, well at some point this still wouldn't completely surprise me at a few spots, not necessarily the ones you mentioned. Keep in mind under the vested veteran rule, any player with at least four accrued seasons gets that salary fully guaranteed if he is on the 53-man roster for the Week 1 season opener. So, bringing in a guy now would come with some risks. If a veteran is signed after the Week 1 game, however, they'd be paid on a week-to-week basis and could later be cut with no ramifications. I'm not guaranteeing the Titans are preparing to sign a veteran next week, I'm only saying that it would make more sense to wait if they're considering it.
Marcus Wyatt from Ypsilanti, Michigan
Question: Do you think it will be Rashad Weaver or Ola Adeniyi who will see an increased role with the injury to Harold Landry?
Jim: Hey Marcus. Just touched on this a bit earlier with Eli. The answer is both of them. Plus, the team claimed former Steelers outside linebacker Derrek Tuszka off waivers last week, and he's now a part of the equation. The reality is it's going to take several guys to make up for the loss of Harold Landry.
Barrett Sutton from Nashville, Tennessee
Question: Thanks for this mail bag. It is refreshing and addressed many questions I would like to ask. Are you free to answer however you choose or do you have to run your responses by the team?
Jim: Hey Barrett. I run them by T-Rac, and as long as he doesn't say anything, I'm good.
Pamela Saldana from Nashville, Tennessee
Question: Hi Jim. Monday, The Bleacher Report's Brent Sobleski gave a scathing analysis of our upcoming season, in fact, calling the Titans duds, pointing to Henry running on retreads, a slipshod offensive line, the absence of a true number one receiver, the loss of Landry and upgrades to practically the rest of the AFC as reasons for the beat down. While I agree that the in-house deficiencies are legit, save the one about Derrick Henry, Sobleski failed to recognize two huge Titan improvements: the tight end position and depth in the secondary--plus Malik Willis' plug in potential as a "gadget qb." So, what say you, Jim?
Jim: Hi Pamela. What say me? I say quit paying attention to all the preseason mumbo jumbo.
Charles Rupcich from Rockford, Illinois
Question: We have now made it from Rookie camp, played 3 preseason games where he at the end of game 3 made it possible to run in the game winning touchdown by driving the defense player down passed Woodside to win the game. Andrew Rupcich #76. Largest guy on the entire team. Made the practice squad. What is your total collective assessment of him? What do you professionally see in his future? Btw my brother William was very pleased to meet you with Bernadette at game 1 preseason. Very pleased with Titans and especially Taylor Lewan's hospitality and humor with my nephew the rookie. Nicolas took him out to a steak dinner. Great group of guys.
Jim: Hey Charles. I've enjoyed getting to know the Rupcich family a little bit. As you mentioned, I met William and Bernadette in Baltimore, and later spotted William on TV enjoying a cold Bud Light in the stands! 😊 Then, at the final preseason game in Nashville, I saw them again, this time with an even bigger crowd of family and friends with them. The fact Andrew is still here – on the practice squad – proves the team is happy with what they've seen in him so far. His o-line coach, Keith Carter, has been very complimentary of him as well, and I've heard some good things about him from others in the building. Now I'm not going to sit here and tell you I'm the best evaluator of offensive linemen, what they need to do from a technique perspective, from weigh distribution, footwork, hands, etc. I have covered some great ones, from Bruce Matthews to Steve Hutchinson to Brad Hopkins to Kevin Mawae to Michael Roos to Taylor Lewan and many more. I didn't cover Mike Munchak as a player, but I watched him coach. Andrew just needs to keep plugging, keep learning from those around him, and keep eating those steak dinners. As an undrafted free agent from Culver-Stockton, I know he's already making his family, and the school, proud. But his work is just beginning. I hope he keeps enjoying himself and keeps getting better.
Reuben Alvear from San Francisco, California
Question: Losing Harold Landry sucks. He's a young man that appears driven to evolve, adapt and refine his game, and he's an integral part of the Titan D. Yet, I hope opposing offenses don't think that suddenly it'll be a cakewalk scheming v the Titan D. Offenses still have to account for Jeffrey Simmons, Denico Autry, Bud Dupree, David Long and Zach Cunningham.
Additionally, Teair Tart and Naquan Jones have shown an ability to get after QBs, stifle the run and wreak havoc.
Whomever fills Landry's spot doesn't need to be Harold Landry. As Coach Vrabel himself may say, that person just needs to play with great effort, great finish and great technique. And I believe the rest will take care of itself. If there were two guys I'd want overseeing our current defense, they are Coach Vrabel and Shane Bowen. The former preaches totality, next-man-up and "fighting together." The latter appears to have a savvy and deft feel for how to use stunts and schemes to free up pass rushers to get after the enemy's QB.
Let's get it, guys!!
Jim: Good pep talk, Reuben!
Have a great game week everyone!