NASHVILLE – Happy Holidays everyone!
Here's wishing you a wonderful week.
After Sunday's win over the Lions, the Titans are now 10-4 and set to head to Green Bay this weekend. There's still work left to do if they want to make the playoffs, however.
At the start of a busy week, let's get going with some questions in the latest edition of the Titans mailbag…
Here's the link to ask questions: CLICK HERE
Hunter Phelan from South Pasadena, California
Question: Happy Holidays to you and your family Sir Jim! Plus, all the Titan family as well! It's been a great fun season even with the strains Covid has put on everyone including the NFL. Proud of this teams fight week after week win or lose. As always thanks for all the great articles keeping us Titans fans in the loop! Best of luck to the fellas finishing strong and hoping for a long playoff run. The offense has been pretty unbelievable this year. I know Corey Davis and AJ brown are close to 1,000 yards. Please correct me if wrong, but I think the first WR tandem to get that mark since Haywood Jefferies and Drew Hill in 1991 from the classic run n shoot offense. Earnest Givens was so close to a third with like 990 yards. Lastly, pray to the above we can keep Cory and Jonnu!!! Going into 21-22! Go Titans!
Jim: Hey Hunter. Good to hear from you again. You're right – Corey and A.J. are getting close to 1K each. With two games to play, Corey has 945 receiving yards, and A.J. has 881. That's a pretty impressive threesome of Oilers you mentioned, but Jefferies and Hill actually did it in 1990 as well. As or the last Titans tandem, in case anyone is wondering, it was Drew Bennett (1,247) and Derrick Mason (1,168) of the 2004 Titans.
Joan Dutton from Cerritos, California
Question: Hi Jim hope all is well! Do you think Ryan Tannehill was snubbed not being chosen to the Pro Bowl? I think he is so underrated for what he has accomplished last year and this year! Have a safe and happy holidays!!
Jim: Hi Joan. Ryan is definitely underrated. Did he get snubbed? Well, I think he deserved to make it. But the guys who made it ahead of him -- Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen and Deshaun Watson -- are no slouches. We all knew Mahomes would make it. He's an incredible player. And I'm not going to throw shade in here at Allen and Watson, who is tied with Mahomes atop the AFC in passer rating and is No.2 in passing yards. I think you could make a strong case that Tannehill should've made the team, and I think a Titans offensive lineman should've been on the team as well. I think Ben Jones is also one of the most underrated centers in the NFL – he's the anchor on an offensive line that paves the way for the NFL's leading rusher, and blocks for a QB who has only been sacked 20 times in 14 games. Guard Rodger Saffold has gutted out another solid year as well. Heck, right tackle Dennis Kelly and guard Nate Davis have also been good. It's a solid group of underrated players.
Benny Peterson from Erwin, Tennessee
Question: i hope vrabel is watching the bengals play defense tonight, up in your face and busting chops instead of this crappy zone stuff and cant tackle crap, cmon vrabel
Jim: Hey Benny. I think we all agree the Titans need to improve the defense, and I'm with you -- I wish the defense would be more aggressive at times. But I doubt a lot of folks are sitting around saying, "Man, I wish we could play defense like the Bengals." Yes, they looked good on Monday night, and yes, the Bengals beat the Titans. But set your dreams higher if you want a better defense.
Johnny Mentz from Marion, Wisconsin
Question: Jim! Happy Holidays! Wish I could see you guys at Lambeau this year, unfortunately they will not let fans in the stands due to the pandemic. Was curious to see if you remember me from the week 1 pre-season game 2018, I had the custom-made Titans cheesehead on and will be wearing it at home on the 27th! Anyways if you need to take a little drive, my wife and I own a little Cafe in Clintonville, Wisconsin (about 40 mins West of Green Bay) stop on by to meet the biggest Titan fan Wisconsin can offer!! Let me know if you need more details! Let's get a big W at Lambeau!!!! ⚔🏈🧀
Jim: Hey Johnny. Who could forget a Titans fan in a cheesehead? I wish we could all enjoy Lambeau Field with fans this year, too, and get the real experience. It should be fun on Sunday Night Football nonetheless. Wish I could make the drive to Clintonville, Johnny. I've been pretty low-key on my road trips this year – I usually go for a run, get take-out for my meals, and watch some football in my hotel room. Other than covering the game, that's been about it this year. Just doing my best to make it safely through the season. I imagine my run is going to be a little chilly on this trip. … Maybe next time!
Bill McFarland from Johns Island, Florida
Question: Hey Jim. With all of these power rankings ranking us out of the top 10 where do you think we stand? Also do you think we will make the AFC Championship Game? Have a Merry Christmas.
Jim: Hey Bill. I'm not much on power rankings to be honest. In the grand scheme of things, they don't mean anything. Just ask last year's Ravens. As for the AFC Championship, the Titans have to make the playoffs first to give themselves a chance, and that hasn't happened yet. First things first, Bill. Merry Christmas to you.
Steven Reavis from Lufkin, Texas
Question: Hey to the best team in the NFL!!! Hopefully we can find ways to give our defense some strength (maybe by chopping that ball out when we tackle)? Let's get those turnovers!!! My question is do you think we can throw more long balls? I mean, if we throw a long pass and get a defensive flag then we get the ball at that spot and that seems like an easy way to move down the field. Any way to work more long plays into the game since the beast king Henry can move the ball up the field at will I think with some long balls we can get 40 points in every game! ⚡️⚡️⚡️⚡️⚡️
Jim: Good to hear from you, Steven. But the Titans have been chucking it deep. There was the 75-yard TD pass from Ryan Tannehill to Corey Davis on Sunday, and a deep ball from Tannehill to A.J. Brown for a score on a flea-flicker the prior week. It's all about balance, and the Titans have that right now on offense. As for the defense, yes, it still need improvements. But the team did benefit from three turnovers against the Lions as well.
Doug Williams from Kettering, Ohio
Question: Jim, just a few comments. The Titans are lucky that they have a terrific offense, because the only way they our going to win a playoff game is if they out score their opponent by a score of 45-40 or 40-35. The defense cannot stop anyone. They were fortunate that the Lions fumbled twice inside the ten-yard line or the game result could have been totally different. Hope they can hold Aaron Rodgers down somewhat next week and pull out a big win on the road.
Jim: Not sure I'd say it's "lucky that they have a terrific offense", because the Titans didn't exactly take a flier on Derrick Henry or A.J. Brown or Corey Davis in the draft, or on Ryan Tannehill in free agency. These guys were drafted and signed to produce, and they're doing just that, with an OC who worked to take advantage of his opportunity when it came. But I get where you're coming from. And I agree the defense better get better. The good news is the offense has scored 30-plus points nine times this year, and 40-plus points four times. So it is capable of winning shootouts.
Michael Ward from Clinton, Tennessee
Question: How about that win jim we finally got that 9-7 monkey off of our back in a good way i love being a Titan we are doing so good but my question was what is going on with Landry i know he had 9 sacks last year why is he so quiet now ? All i know is if we dont put some type of pressure on the Quarterback then they are gonna have all day to throw we had this same problem last year in the AFC championship game against Kansas city can you believe if we make it there again against Kansas city it will be the same problem that will take us out not just once but potentially a 2nd time if we dont bring someone in or find a way thats the only thing that worries me the Offense is firing on all cylinders couldn't ask for a better Offense but anyway jim im just blessed we are 10-4 and have bragging rights over teams now Titans family have a Merry Christmas help others in need and enjoy family time i love all you guys and jim Merry Christmas to you and hope you have a blessed holiday stay safe peeps Titan up baby!!!
Jim: Hey Michael. A lot to take in here. Landry is busting it, just not getting there. Unfortunately, he's playing too many snaps. The offense is definitely fun to watch, and 10-4 is good, but not good enough to secure a playoff spot yet. Appreciate you taking the time. You should ask for a few commas and periods for Christmas. 😊
Dennis Melton from Franklin, Tennessee
Question: I'm sure that the coaches and players are tired of hearing about it during a winning season, but everyone knows the Titans' Achilles heel is pass rush. Matt Stafford wasn't afraid to play us with cracked ribs! He had time to sign autographs on every meaningful play. Each week, same song, next verse. Makes me wonder if the coaches aren't really concerned about it; why not? Surely there's somebody not on a roster, or on a practice squad, who could get more than ZERO sacks. Can we get Correa back? Can Vrabel suit up? Can Eddie George play OLB for a few snaps? Can Derrick Henry play both ways? (kidding... well, maybe not...) From here on, we're facing great QBs. Are we just fated to have a historic run cut short by inability to get to the quarterback?
Jim: Hey Dennis. I'm sure Vrabel and the coaches are tired of hearing about it. I'm obviously not going to endorse your one-liners, but we do agree the pass rush has been lacking – 14 sacks in 14 games doesn't cut it. I can guarantee you none of your options are in play.
Kenneth Lawson from Fort Walton Beach, Florida
Question: We are getting to the point of the season were the run game and good defenses take over games. Except we are lacking in the defense department. Our pass rush is atrocious. Stafford played Bc they knew we couldn't get to the QB. With the Packers awaiting on Sunday night we have something's to figure out. Bc idk about you... but I don't wanna see Aaron Rodgers just sit in the pocket and torch us. What are somethings you're seeing that we aren't? Bc it seems we aren't blitzing that much like in the past. We had DBs and safetys with sacks and now not so much. It's crazy to think we are dead last in sacks. Hope we get right and continue our run! Always enjoy reading the mailbag. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you and the Titans family. #TitanUp ⚔️
Jim: Hey Kenneth. We agree on the fact the Titans need to get this figured out, and if I had the answers to solve the pass rush, I wouldn't be banging out this mailbag on my keyboard right now. We disagree on this: Stafford didn't play "because they knew we couldn't get to the QB." He's a tough cookie, with a mindset like Steve McNair and some of these other tough quarterbacks. I suspect he would've played if the '85 Bears lined up across from him (although I do realize Mike Singletary, at 62 years of age, probably isn't as fast as he used to be). Thanks for taking the time.
Have a great week everyone!