NASHVILLE – We're a week into June, and now just a week away from minicamp.
The Titans hit the field for OTA No.6 on Tuesday as we edge closer to the end of the offseason program.
Let's take a quick break to answer some questions in the latest Titans mailbag…
Here's the link to ask questions: CLICK HERE
James Essary from Memphis, Tennessee
Question: Wassup Mr. Jim? Been a fan since 98 when yall came to Tennessee and I love what yall been doing in the last 4 or 5 years. My question is what do u see for the future for Dez Fitzpatrick? Seems to me he has the body size and tools to b a beast. Do u think that will ever come to fruition. P.s I love the move u made with AJ brown we don't need greedy players who are looking out for them self. Football is a team sport.
Jim: Wassup James? Dez continues to make strides. After a forgettable start to his NFL career, which led to him being released last year, he began to settle in on the practice squad and earned some opportunities. Coaches – and the GM – have raved about his improvement, and I've witnessed it myself on the practice field. But he needs to be more consistent, and prove it again when the pads come on in training camp. I like Dez. He seems like a really nice young man, and I think he has skills. But he still has some learning to do (he knows this) and some players to pass on the depth chart to earn significant playing time. The fact the team didn't give up on him last year shows you some people have expectations, and hopes, for him moving forward. But he's going to have to go it, every day.
Todd Keefer from Denver, Colorado
Question: Hi Jim! My question is regarding Bud Dupree. Not much has been spoken about him as of late so I was hoping you might be able to give us a little insight into your feelings about him. I have high hopes for him this year after the way he finished off last season. It seemed like he was returning to that dominant force he was before the injury. If he's fully recovered and back to his old self, he and the rest of that defensive line could carry this team to big things. I like that we're being underestimated once again! Thanks for taking my question.
Jim: Hey Todd. I think Bud has a chance to make a big leap in 2022. He definitely finished last year on a high note, and I think he's going to be beastly. I haven't seen Bud this offseason, so I can't tell how he's looked of late. He's one of the guys who hasn't been here during the voluntary OTAs, which has surprised me a bit. But I'm sure he's working hard, and I expect to see him during next week minicamp.
Isaac Diffenderfer from Mt. Juliet, Tennessee
Question: Hi Jim! Hope you are having a great day. The Titans have mostly been quiet this off-season. Our two big moves were getting Robert Woods and Austin Hooper (additions I really like.) However, I think there is a really great chance that J-Rob could've just been waiting for us to get our Julio cap space. Which we got on June 2nd. So here is my idea, and I want to ask what you think about it. Will Fuller is still a free agent, he is a good wide receiver that has one major flaw. He can't stay on the field. Whether it be injuries or suspensions, he isn't playing a lot. That's why no team wants to sign him. However, this may work out for us, I know we have many talented WR's on our depth chart. Like NWI and Kyle Phillips for example. So, maybe, we get Fuller to play at WR 2, and if he gets injured, we can still play Phillips or NWI. What do you think of that possibility?
Jim: Hey Isaac. I get asked a lot about free agents still available, and the chances of the Titans signing them. Will Fuller is one of the guys I get asked about most. Hey, I like Fuller, too. He's fast and he's made a lot of plays in the league. But you said it yourself – he's been hurt a lot, and missed a lot of time. So that's a concern. I'm not ruling it out, but I also know some other guys are out there and more will be in time.
Jonathan Leavitt from Riverside, California
Question: Hey Jim. Been a few years since I last wrote in. Thanks for keeping us all informed!
I have a multi-faceted question for you centering around the A.J. Brown trade. Like many fans, I was shocked and upset at first; then I studied up on the background and discovered all the not-so-wise tweets, public demands, etc. It seems we had no choice but to cut ties. Tweets and social media posts have been the downfall of several great NFL players in recent years. With that in mind, does our team have a social media clause within player contracts to attempt to prevent such antics in the future? The corporate world has NDA's, so cant/dont the NFL/teams do something similar with respect to players social media posts? What can you tell us about such issues and how are team tries to mitigate them?
Circling back to the loss of AJ… Woods appears to be coming along nicely, but were still thin at WR with 4 rookies, and a mix of 1–3-year wideouts (all mostly unknown outside our Titans fanbase). Realizing it is early, who do you see stepping up to a starting spot amongst this crew?
There are still some pretty decent 20-something year old WR free agents available. Does our coaching staff have their eyes on any free agent WRs, that you can share? Any recent or upcoming visits?
Jim: Hey Jonathan. Good to hear from you again.
There is no social media clause for players, and I can't see that ever happening. It's a dangerous road trying to censor players, or get in the way of their freedom of speech. With that said, I can guarantee you players have been talked to about the best way to use social media, some dos and don'ts, advice, etc. As for A.J.'s social media posts, I really don't think that had anything to do with his departure, and I don't consider it a part of his downfall. A.J. – and his agent – wanted to get paid, and that's what ended up happening. I still contend I don't think he wanted to leave Tennessee, but things got so far down the road in the chase for $ there was no turning back.
I agree that question marks remain at WR, and it is early. I project the top 3 right now to be Robert Woods, Nick Westbrook-Ikhine and Treylon Burks, but at the time Woods is still in a brace and Burks is slow out of the gate. There's time, but, again, question marks remain. And I'm betting the GM is keeping his eyes on who is still available, and the waiver wire.
Don't be a stranger…
Michelle Graves from Dixon Springs, Tennessee
Question: Do u think the Titans will go to Super Bowl this year?
Jim: Hi Michelle. Things are going to need to come together. I thought the Titans were going to go to the Super Bowl last year, and things fell apart in January. So, we'll see...
Derek Hill from Franklin, Tennessee
Question: Jim! This is my first time writing into… any kinda mailbag. Just wanted to share my appreciation for your diligent work. I've read your stuff for over 10 years you're a class act and a legend. What's your view of Jamarco Jones? I know the o-line is TBD but I think we have some interesting pieces in play. Personally I think the position battle between jones and radunz could turn into one of the highlights of training camp. Both are still young and malleable, I wish everybody would just relax. I'm almost 24 and I can promise you I don't have it all figured out. Thanks again Jim and everybody remember, just let It go and love . -Derek
Jim: Hey Derek. I appreciate the kind words. You're too kind, and I'm not worthy of all that. ... I've kept an early eye on Jamarco, and I chatted with him last week. As Vrabel mentioned earlier this offseason, he's starting off in the competition at left guard, but he's versatile and I expect to see him get some reps at tackle, too. A lot TBD here, including how Dillon Radunz fares in his bid to win the RT job. Thanks for the positivity, Derek. Have a good one.
Jamie Driver from Union City, Tennessee
Question: Hey Jim how do you feel about the front four on defense às they started to gel toward the end of season and was getting pressure on the regular, something that we've been missing for years. Also do you think Weaver comes back and brings it like he was doing before injury.?
Jim: Hi Jamie. There's reason to be optimistic about the defense, including the pass rush. But it's a new year, and the group is going to have to put some things together again. As for Weaver, I really liked the looks of him before the injury, and he looks even stronger this offseason. But he's still been limited and held back a bit during the offseason so far as he recovers from last season's injury, so I really haven't been able to gauge his progress. I'm looking forward to see him when the pads come on.
Jim Smythe from Milford, Connecticut
Question: Ok Jim after two VERY questionable drafts I wanted to take an in depth look at our draft class. Still trying to figure out why we have such little success drafting O Lineman.
1st - Burks, WR -- I get this pick the brass NEEDED to replace AJ -- as much for the fan base as the actual production. Hate to burst everyone's bubble here, but he is not AJ. Let's hope he can develop -- Just do not see a true number 1 WR here.
2nd - McCreary, DB -- Solid player but I thought Booth out of Clemson was a better prospect -- and he was still available. Time will tell who will be better.
3rd -- Petit-Frere -- Head scratcher for me here. Number one it makes me nervous when the experts refer to an O lineman as a "swing" tackle - and number 2 Raimann was still available and was a much cleaner prospect (Colts picked him -- should tell us something). I really fear we missed on YET ANOTHER lineman. Our line will be the reason this year if we fail.
3rd -- Willis, QB -- Love the upside here. Logical pick and let's hope he develops and becomes a star. Certainly, worth a gamble at this point in the draft.
4th -- Haskins, RB -- Another head scratcher here. He certainly fits the profile but could have picked him much later and use this spot for more immediate help.
4th -- Okonko, TE -- Like this pick. He fits and could be special if used correctly.
5th -- Phillips, WR -- Like this pick as well. I really hope we use him enough. Could be a very productive third down target.
6th -- T.Jackson, DB -- Depth piece. Limited but could be a good special teamer and backup safety.
6th -- Campbell, LB -- looks like a practice squad or special teamer. Let's face it any production out of 6th rounders is gravy.
The overall look: questionable first few rounds and some good value in the mid-late ones. My take: We needed to address the O-Line earlier and not select another "project." Very scary to enter the summer with 2 gaping holes......and unproven/journeymen players competing for those spots. YIKES!
Jim: My thoughts? I love seeing the opinions, and I appreciate you sharing yours. Also, I trust the GM. He picked all of these guys for a reason, and while has hasn't been perfect, I don't think he's scratching his own head over any of them. Just like all drafts, it's too early to grade or judge any of them after a month.
Have a great week everyone!