NASHVILLE – It's almost time.
The Titans take the field for training camp next week, which means the season is closing in.
I'll continue to tackle questions as we count the days…
Here's the link to ask questions: CLICK HERE.
Steve Crosio from Brick, New Jersey
Question: Hey there Jim. Which player from each position of the team has to step up the most during training camp?
Jim: Oh man, Steve, this is a tough one to answer because it will take more than just one guy at each position group. And, while it's good to see guys step up in camp, the time to shine is when the regular season starts. With that said, I'll go Ryan Tannehill (QB), Derrick Henry (RB), Julio Jones (WR), Anthony Firkser (TE), Taylor Lewan (OL), Jeffery Simmons (DL), Bud Dupree (Edge), Rashaan Evans (ILB), Caleb Farley (CB), and Kevin Byard (S), all for different reasons. We'll see what happens at kicker.
TJ Mayfield from Vicksburg, Mississippi
Question: Hey Jim! Greeting from Vicksburg, MS! I was wondering has there been any undrafted rookies standing out so far?
Jim: Hey T.J. We'll know a lot more about the undrafted free agents when the pads come on. But two guys who've impressed me the most from the 10 undrafted free agents so far are tight end Briley Moore and defensive lineman Naquan Jones. Running back Mekhi Sargent has shown some quickness with the ball in his hands as well.
John Murphy from Hoboken, New Jersey
Question: Hey Jim. Maybe I'm missing something but Breon Borders was extremely solid for us in the handful of games he started last year. It's a shame he got hurt and couldn't play at the end of the season, I think that would've solidified things for him. I see a lot of things out there saying he's on the bubble, could get cut, competing for 5th or 6th spot, etc. I think we have a solid CB room, but I feel he should be in the mix for significant playing time this year. Aside from the obvious, signing Jack Rabbit and drafting Farley, any thoughts or next Gen stats that prove otherwise? Sitting Farley a few weeks to get his back right might not be the worst thing especially when we have corners who are able to start. We didn't rush Simmons back and look how that turned out.
Jim: Hey John. Borders did step up and play well when he was called upon last year. But a lot of things have changed around him since then as well, including two guys getting drafted early – Caleb Farley and Elijah Molden – and another free agent – Jackrabbit Jenkins -- being signed. Plus, Kristian Fulton is now healthy, and ready to play. So that's four guys he'll have a hard time passing on the depth chart if you ask me, which you did. I like Borders, but these other guys were brought in here for a reason.
Terry Sims from Miami, Florida
Question: Do you think that this WR duo of Julio Jones and A.J. Brown are going to be as good or even better than the WR duo of Yancey Thigpen and Derrick Mason if healthy?
Stephen Cross from Lebanon, Tennessee
Question: Hey Jim. Question about the offensive coordinator position. Having been around the game for so many years and having been around an NFL team that long, can you provide any insight on having the same head coach but the offensive coordinator leaving for a hc job and promoting from within, how will offense change? How will it differ? Can't imagine having the bulk of the offensive players coming back and completely change verbiage, mentality, situational strategy? Anyway, used to love reading you in The Tennessean growing up and been enjoying reading you for the team as an adult.
Jim: Hey Stephen. Appreciate the kind words., and for reading over the years. I have been around long enough to see a lot of changes on the staff, and to see guys leave for head coaching jobs elsewhere, from Gregg Williams to Jim Schwartz to Matt LaFleur to Arthur Smith. And, in each case, there have been some changes when guys are promoted. Most of the time it's been subtle, and it's involved some changes to the verbiage and terminology more than scheme. But every coordinator is different. I do know that when Mike Vrabel promoted Todd Downing to OC to replace Arthur, I felt like the team would benefit because there wouldn't be a complete overall. I know that Todd, a former OC with the Raiders, will want to add his own wrinkles and style, and he's likely going to approach Sundays differently, especially with some new guys to work with on offense. In time, we'll have a better answer on how things will look.
Billy Holton from Chattanooga, Tennessee
Question: Hi, Jim, I hope you and yours are doing great and, as always, thanks for keeping us all informed about everything Titans. I'm super excited about our team and the season. My question is about the backup qb position. I've seen where Kizer is looking good, and I know the coaching staff is high on Woodside. So in a world where the team likes both and wants to keep both, one would end up on the practice squad. Kizer being a former starter means he would be less likely to clear waivers, so strategically I see the team stashing Woodside on the "taxi squad" as it would first be known as in the Art Modell/Paul Brown days. How long does Logan have to be eligible for the practice squad? I know there are only so many years a team can do that to each player but don't know the details. Thanks so much and get ready for a great season everyone. TITAN UP!
Jim: Hey Billy. The practice squad rules have always been somewhat complicated to me as well, and as of right now there's still some uncertainty about how things will work this fall. Not sure I agree with you on which QB would clear waivers easier – some of this could hinge on how guys look in preseason games, of course. But here's a look at the CBA rules regarding practice squad guys for 2020 -- practice squads included up to 16 players per team. Of those 16, as many as six could be players with more than two accrued seasons in the NFL. The latest CBA allowed for two practice-squad players per team with an unlimited number of accrued seasons, but the COVID-19 amendments expanded that number to six. If the COVID-19 protocols remain in place for 2021, these rules could remain in place. But they haven't been adopted yet.
Bill Brown from Broken Arrow, Oklahoma
Question: Good day sir, I just read your most recent mailbag and would like to offer Donna Mansfield a Tannehill jersey. Please let me know where to have one sent. TITANUP!!!!
Jim: This is very kind of you, Billy. Donna's email is firstname.lastname@example.org
Peter Howard from Lebanon, Tennessee
Question: What are your thoughts of Dez Fitzpatrick so far? Also, who do you think is your hardest worker on the Titans?
Jim: Hey Peter. I like what I've seen from Dez. Smart young man, hard worker. He closed the offseason program with momentum. With the June addition of Julio, he doesn't have as much pressure on him either. Sure, he wants to make an immediate impact and play, but it's going to be hard for him to unseat veterans like Julio, A.J. Brown and Josh Reynolds. As for the hardest worker on the Titans: Have you seen Derrick Henry's workout videos?
Todd Wilder from New Braunfels, Texas
Question: Every year since 1999 I've purposely underestimated what we were going to do the following year. Record, post season, all the above. I've always thought maybe. But I'll believe it when I see it. There is a lot of optimism surrounding this team going into 2021. And deservedly so. But not since the late Steve McNair was stiff arming two D Lineman en-route to falling inches short of a Lombardi Trophy have I felt or thought a Super Bowl championship was attainable. We are tight on the cap right now, And even with an increase in 2022. We have a lot of young players. Keystone, Franchise players. That are due for extensions and big contracts within the next 1-2 years. If the trade for Julio showed anything, it's that J. Rob and Co. have pushed all their chips to the center of the table and are hoping the cards turn up right. You don't win now, and by now, I mean this year you could be looking at another rebuild worse than the one that saw with Steve, Samari and Derrick Mason leaving for the Ravens. Mike Vrabel I guarantee you, is not talking about the Super Bowl or even the Cardinals right now. But we are. Right now we are the team that nobody wants to talk about. Let's be the team that nobody wants to play.
Jim: Good to hear from you, Todd. There's a lot of work to be done, for sure. But no matter what happens in 2021, I don't think the window is a year away from closing.
Gerardo Ortiz from Mexico, Nezahualcoyotl
Question: Soy un seguidor de los titanes desde la era de Dan Pastorini y Earl Campbell y de los enfrentamientos de la cortina de acero original mi pregunta seria saber tu opinión respecto de la fortaleza de nuestra defensa y si con la reconstrucción de esta podrá competir con los favoritos de la conferencia como son los Jefes, los cuervos que en mi opinión son los equipos a vencer en la siguiente temporada, saludos desde Nezahualcoyot, México
Jim: Es bueno saber de ti, Gerardo. Es difícil de decir ahora mismo. Todavía no he visto a Bud Dupree o Caleb Farley en el campo, y tipos como Denico Autry, Jackrabbit Jenkins y Elijah Molden no han practicado en pads. Pero trajeron a todos estos muchachos para mejorar la defensa. Y, por supuesto, el equipo cuenta con otros muchachos para dar un paso al frente y jugar mejor. Creo que DC Shane Bowen estará en una mejor posición para tener éxito también en el segundo año. Pero hay mucho por determinar. Pronto comenzaremos a recibir algunas respuestas. Gracias por la pregunta.
Jimmy Dee from Battle Ground, Washington
Question: Jim, Although I think Jon Robinson has missed a few positions I'm still absolutely amazed at how well Jon Robinson has overhauled an NFL team in just one off-season. It's literally uncanny what he's accomplished this off-season. I'm not even going to bother trying to detail all that he's accomplished because it would take pages to detail all of it. I will say that some of the moves Jon Robinson has made seem lateral, such as signing Julio Jones to replace Corey Davis and signing "Jackrabbit" Jenkins to replace Malcolm Butler but some moves are serious upgrades, such as Dupree to replace Clowney and Denico Autry to replace Jack Crawford and Dillon Radunz to replace Denis Kelly and Caleb Farley to replace whoever started opposite Malcolm Butler at CB. Then you have the quality backup players he's also brought in like Kendall Lamm, Monty Rice, Rashad Weaver, Dez Fitzpatrick, Briley Moore. Then there's the two players he brought in last year who missed most of the season due to health issues - Kristian Fulton & Darrynton Evans. These two players actually got a taste of the NFL last season so they'll be more ready for the NFL this season. IMO Darrynton Evans & Kristian Fulton are poised for good seasons in 2021. So far it's going to be like you have 13 new impact players on the team, if you include Fulton & Darrynton Evans. I'm still hoping the team will add a few more players and if that happens then team will have added 14 - 16 new impact players in the off-season. I love the NFL a lot and mostly I love the Tennessee Titans, and it has literally been great entertainment to witness Jon Robinson give a tutorial on how to rebuild an NFL team in one off-season. If this team makes big noise in the coming season what Jon Robinson did this off-season will be a watershed event in NFL history.
Jim: Thanks for taking the time, Jimmy Dee.
Tye Bain from Jackson, Tennessee
Question: I was worried that we wouldn't get a playmaker at WR after the loss of Davis and Smith. I knew Julio was a long shot at the time but I was shocked we actually pulled it off. I feel like our defense improved slightly and our offense did tremendously. My old question is: Despite the massive improvement to our passing offense, how will the 2nd year running back Darrynton Evans fit into the offense this season. I hope he can stay healthy to help Henry. I think he shows amazing potential to be a factor.
Jim: Hey Tye. Darrynton had a really good offseason. Now he needs to keep it going – and stay healthy. The team picked him in the third round because he's a talented player, and the plan is to get him more involved in the offense, and on special teams. I think he has a chance to be good, and to contribute. The big thing for Darrynton is to be available, and to take advantage of his opportunities.
Have a great week everyone!