NASHVILLE – It's game week.
After a long and unprecedented offseason, the NFL season kicks off this week across the league, and that includes your Tennessee Titans in Denver against the Broncos.
It's been a busy couple of days in Titan land, with roster moves and, of course, the addition of veteran pass rusher Jadeveon Clowney.
As we count the days to the opener, let's discuss what's on your mind in the latest edition of the Titans mailbag…
Here's the link to ask questions: CLICK HERE.
Cade Damon from Morristown, Tennessee
Question: Hey Jim. First and foremost, Titan Up. But with the addition of Clowney - and by all means I'm a member of the insane Clowney posse - this undoubtedly raises the bar on all levels of our defense. We needed an elite edge rusher and he can also play at LB which eases pressure on our already stacked secondary. With our offense already clicking and signed, could this be the step needed to make our Super Bowl run and dethrone the Chiefs, who we had beaten last year but not when it counted the most due to lack of pass rush?
Jim: Well Cade, that's the hope. I thought the Titans had a chance to be a contender before the addition of Clowney. Now, I look at the team even different than before. But no one is going to hand you anything in the NFL. The Seahawks had Clowney last year, and they lost in the second round of the playoffs. It's a team game, and the Titans need to play well as a team to accomplish big things this fall. The same applies as before: The Titans are going to have to win close games, and they're going to have to stay healthy.
David Brown from Las Vegas, Nevada
Question: Big props to Robinson and Vrabel for landing Clowney. It would have been nice to have him from the beginning of free agency, but the fact that landing him late also keeps our 3rd round compensatory pick for Conklin males the late signing just as sweet. When I hear some of the comments from alleged Titans fans when they will no longer be fans if some of our players/human beings voice their opinions about what's going on in the country it amazes me. It basically says these players need to share their opinions more and the louder. I can't imagine a human being mad at Tannehill or Byard for speaking up. Love this team and what it stands (or kneels) for this season. Let the people that want to keep their head in the sand follow another sport. Plenty of us Titan fans for life here. After sitting through years of Cody Carlson and Jake Locker I'm going to enjoy this season. Now that we have Clowney what do you see as this team's weak link? From talking to coaches and players has the confidence/excitement level turned up a notch with Clowney's arrival? Clowney really is one of those players that should make things easier for every other player on the defense.
Jim: Hey David. Clowney is definitely a good get. Yes, it would have been nice to sign him in March, but keep in mind the team didn't have OTAs or minicamps, so he just ended up missing out on three weeks of camp practices. This was always going to be on Clowney's timetable, and it's pretty clear he wasn't interested in going through training camp.
As for the letters some have written in claiming to no longer be fans, that's their right. To each his own. You should see some of the hateful emails that don't make the mailbag, and just end up getting deleted from my inbox. I'll let folks voice their opinions, if appropriate, but I'm not going to let them spew hate in here – they can take that elsewhere. As for the weak link on the 53-man roster, well, that's TBD. Obviously, some big shoes were left to fill in the slot, and there are positions with not as much depth. But overall, it's a solid team, and one that should be fun to watch. And players are fired up to have Clowney on board.
Alberto Armando Téllez Salcedo from Durango, México
Question: Más que pregunta Jim, una felicitación a Amy Adams Strunk, J Rob, Coach Vrabel que han realizado un gran trabajó con la contratación de Jadeveon Clowney, la de Vic Beasley, los excelentes Draft de los últimos años. Soy asiduo lector de tus noticias sobre nuestros Titans. Estoy con el equipó desde 1978 y esperó que este año sea el nuestro. Un saludó y gran abrazo a toda la comunidad Titan alrededor del mundo. Titan Up.
Jim: ¡Muchas gracias!
Baylor Stewart from Adolphus, Kentucky
Question: Hey Jim. So excited to see the team sign Jadeveon, what a great move by Jon and Mike! My question is are there any other names that still remained unsigned that stand out to you that might still help this team and provide depth for another run? Some that stand out to me are Devonta Freeman, Mohammed Sanu, and maybe these two could be rotational players but Ziggy Ansah or Terrell Suggs. Don't think they'd cost that much and have a lot of experience. Thanks for listening and TitanUP!!!
Jim: Hi Baylor. The GM is always exploring the list of guys available, and I expect shuffling to take place during the course of the season. Keep in mind the rule about vested veterans – if you're on a roster for Week 1, your salary is guaranteed for the year. So most teams like to wait on guys who aren't sure things at this point. I'm not saying anything is on the verge of happening with anyone, but when it comes to adding more veteran outsiders at this point, I suspect it wouldn't come until after Week 1.
Alyce Huntington from Tampa, Florida
Question: Hi Jim, we are a big football and Titan family in Tampa. One thing we noticed last year was the downfield blocking by the receivers. While Davis has taken some criticism for being such a lofty draft pick, he is one who always seems to always deliver key downfield blocks on big plays. How much is blocking emphasized & coached to Titan WRs & TEs in Training Camp and in practices?
Jim: Hi Alyce. It's a big point of emphasis. On a team that runs the football, receivers have to be willing – and able – to block. And Corey is the team's best blocking receiver. It's why his coaches and teammates respect him so much. The team works on it in consistently in practices, and in film study.
Mike Ruark from Ocean City, Maryland
Question: Hey Jim, long time Oiler/Titan fan here. I've read your mailbag for years now and never thought to ask a question but I'm gonna give it a shot. I've heard and read a lot about 1st round rook Isaiah Wilson getting beat in practice. Sometimes pretty badly, there's already a large crowd that believe he was a major reach esp considering his below average-bad pass blocking and I'm starting to think maybe they're right. What's your honest evaluation of him thus far? Also, completely left field here but I really think this will be Corey Davis' breakout year? How's the chemistry with Tannehill this year? Hope to hear back, Titan Up!
Jim: Hi Mike. Isaiah, like all rookies across the NFL, arrived at a tough time. He had no OTAs or minicamps to get ready, and because he didn't get to take part in the offseason program, his conditioning suffered as well. When he showed up for camp, he went on the COVID-19 list, and he fell further behind. In camp, he looked like a guy who was finding his way, and catching up. He also looked like a guy who is working to get himself back into football shape. Now he's back on the COVID-19 list as he works to get there. Is it an ideal start for him? No. But I, for one, never envisioned him as the Week 1 starter anyway. In my mind, it was always going to be Dennis Kelly at RT in Denver. Does this mean Wilson is a lost cause? No. The team drafted him to be the future at right tackle, so that process is just getting started. As for Corey Davis, I think he's poised to have a solid year. What that means from a statistical standpoint, it's hard to say, because he has a ton of weapons surrounding him, and there's only one football.
Tom Ballman from Gallatin,Tennessee
Question: Well Jim. I guess you don't have answer anymore Clowney questions. Clowney is a game changer. He will make the whole defense better. What do you think Jim? Oops, that's another Clowney question!
Jim: No question he will make the defense better. But I've now turned my attention to Dez …. (THIS IS A JOKE).
Richard Bernstein from Crossville, Tennessee
Question: Recently moved from New York state for a fresh start in Tennessee and looking forward to being a Titans fan, buying season tickets and attending the games. The recent social media display by the team in solidarity to all the political recent events has absolutely been appalling. Why don't the NFL teams realize that this is not what your fans expect to see and hear. We want to see football and respect for our country. This recent locker room display has lost me in supporting your team. I fear for you if this keeps up these guys will be playing in a sandlot.
Jim: Hi Richard. There's not a single player on the team that doesn't have respect for our country. As for wanting to see football, well, get your popcorn ready because you're in luck. Kickoff for the opener is on Monday night against the Broncos on ESPN. Remember, it's a late start -- 9:20 p.m. in Nashville, but that's 10:20 p.m. your time, so get that nap in so you can watch the second half!
Jimmy Dee from Battle Ground, Washington
Question: Jim, I'm reading your Q & A today and I read where someone posted that this season's results will have an asterisk attached to it to remind everyone that it's the Covid-19 season. That may happen but I think what's more likely is that people will watch the 2020 games and conclude that in 2020 teams played about the same as usual. The player are highly skilled and talented and if they give it their all they will look great out on the field as usual. I think after the season is over there will be a sizable number of people saying that maybe the NFL does not need to do all of the pre-season stuff they do because the players are about as good without all of that pre-season stuff as they are with the pre-season stuff. It gets down to this - is less pre-season this year going to make it take longer for Kalif Raymond to run the 40? I don't think so. Is less pre-season this year going to make DaQuan Jones lose some of his strength? I don't think so.
The main difference having less pre-season could do is that maybe the coaches won't be able to evaluate the backup players as well as the coaches usually do. The coaches will have to do their evaluations with less competition to help them but there will still be a lot of competition for the coaches to evaluate. I think that the biggest result of the shortened pre-season stuff will be that teams will let go of a player or two that they might have kept instead in typical circumstances and players will be a little less conditioned. That's it. Now, being less conditioned could result in more injuries but I think even injuries won't be much worse than usual because both sides will be less conditioned. It's not like the teams that the Titans play will be highly conditioned and the Titans will be much less conditioned.
I think that the worse part of the 2020 season is that there won't be the noise from the fans. The players will play up to their usual level IMO.
Jim: Appreciate you weighing in, Jimmy Dee.
Have a great week everyone!