NASHVILLE – Welcome to February.
And welcome to Super Bowl week.
This time next week, the entire NFL will officially be on to 2021.
In the meantime, the questions/comments continue to roll in about the team's decisions at offensive coordinator and defensive coordinator. I'll continue to let you voice your opinions in here as long as you keep it clean.
There's plenty more to talk about as well.
Here's the link to ask questions: CLICK HERE
NOTE: For this Saturday's Titans mailbag, please send me your memories from Super Bowl XXXIV. Were you in Atlanta for the Titans-Rams game? Watching at home? Who were you with? What's your lasting memory of the game? Of the day? Click the link above and submit your memories.
Terry Rogers from Bowling Green, Kentucky
Question: As a foundation season ticket holder I naturally follow every move that the Titans make. I was not optimistic about the signing of Beasley & Clowney last year so at least occasionally I get it right. This year I am very supportive of the promotions of two of our coaches to OC & DC. Keeping these key positions in house means that our players won't have to learn entirely new schemes from scratch. I always felt that it hurts more than it helps to be constantly changing schemes and coaches. Just ask Marcus! Go Big Blue and I wish both of our newly promoted assistant coaches the very best in 2021!
Jim: Appreciate you taking the time, Terry. Based on a lot of my emails, it sounds like you're in the minority, but that's OK. The reality is no one knows who is right at the current time, and so much depends on what happens with player acquisitions in free agency and the NFL Draft. We'll find which direction this is going in about 8-9 months.
Artemus Lucas from Newburgh, New York
Question: What's the difference with Vrabel hiring coordinators that couldn't produce when they had the opportunity versus Mularkey? Titans fired Mularkey when he wouldn't separate from Robiskie, who wasn't productive at offensive play calling. Now we have Vrabel who let Bowens control the defensive play calling without giving him the title of DC. The defense looked horrible, there was no in-game adjustments, no communication, no fire, and no teamwork. We had MMCNB -My Man Catch No Balls where's did the team unity go. It seems like it left with Coach Pees, Coach Coombs, Logan Ryan and Jurrell Casey. For the defense to change for better you have to change DC for better. A better DC would definitely help also a slew of defensive additions. Sign Judon, look for pay cuts or just cut, and draft defense heavy. If Vrabel's decisions fails, I say move on we are wasting valuable time with our core players. Eric Bienemy is the answer then look at Pittsburgh assistant who I think should of been hired for DC.
Jim: Hey Artemus. The Titans didn't fire Mularkey because he wouldn't separate from Robiskie. Not sure who told you that, but it's wrong. There were several factors, the main one at the time was the belief someone else – Vrabel – could take the franchise to greater heights. And that's proven to be true – Vrabel took the franchise to its first AFC Championship since 2002 in 2019, and to the franchise's first AFC South title since 2008 last season. Now the mission is to take it a step further, and into the Super Bowl.
Mark Sanderson from Burlington, North Carolina
Question: Greetings from icy and cold NC! I will say this, hiring Bowen was certainly courageous move by Vrabel. The universal lambasting I've seen was probably expected. Going back in time a bit, I remember people were calling for Jim Schwartz to be fired early in his career and amazingly, when the roster was upgraded, his coaching improved too! So here is hoping better players, better coaching, and some much-needed system tweaks, we get noticeable improvement on the defensive side of the ball. In regards to Todd Downing, the body of work is too small at this point to be overly critical. Based on 2015 when he was named QB coach of the year, there is a baseline talent there to cultivate. With either side of the ball, the thing I would like to see the most improvement is in-game adjustments when things aren't going as well as planned. It felt like we were repeating the same mistakes in losses and this is where I felt post season evaluation might reveal some areas of focus. Now, let's focus on JR finding us some cap space and re-sign some important players and then secure some additional guys through FA and the draft. Stay Safe and smart Titans Nation!
Jim: Appreciate the take, Mark. Stay warm.
Carlos Del valle from Queretaro, México
Question: Hola Jim: ojalá puedas ayudarme a entender en qué se benefició a la defensa del equipo con el nombramiento oficial del DC, cuando en la temporada él fue quien en el papel fue el DC y tuvimos una de las peores defensas de la liga; es decir, el equipo de entrenadores defensivos no cambió en dada, entonces como es que podemos mejorar?
Jim: Para empezar, consiga mejores jugadores para apresurar al mariscal de campo. No. 2, mantente saludable. Por supuesto, el cuerpo técnico también debe hacer un mejor trabajo. Se necesitan mejoras en todos los ámbitos.
Cody Cook from Arp, Texas
Question: No question this week just a comment or suggestion in case Vrabel and Robinson want my 2 cents worth of info 😁. Since defense is a major key for this off season and I'm sure we'll draft some young guys, but you always need some experienced leadership around. What do you think about the possibility of picking up J.J. Watt from Houston? I think he still has a few years left in him. Also, he and Vrabel are familiar with each other already. Just a suggestion in case their reading the 'mailbag' this week. Have a good week and GO TITANS FROM TEXAS!!
Jim: Sign me up.
Steven Crosio from Brick New Jersey
Question: Hey there Jim after watching the Senior Bowl I listed my Top 5 Seniors I want Tennessee Titans to draft do you see any of them drafted by the Titans?
1. Patrick Jones II Edge Pittsburgh
2. Trey Smith OG Tennessee
3. Josh Palmer WR Tennessee
4. Shi Smith WR South Carolina
5. Kellen Mond QB Texas A&M (MVP of the Senior Bowl Game)
Jim: Way too early to say, Steven, but I'll put you down for these five.
David Butler from Franklin, Tennessee
Question: Hi Jim. It looks like the popular thing to do right now is bash Titans leadership for the internal promotions. There has always been a pretty big group of people in middle Tennessee who like to jump on those bandwagons. I want to be positive and keep the good vibes going to help them be successful. My question is this: What things will Shane Bowen have in his new job scope that he didn't have as LB coach and subbing in that role? Maybe if people understand what he can now do that he didn't have the ability to do last year will help them be more positive.
Jim: Hey David. I don't mind folks expressing their opinions, but I admit some of the over-the-top bashing gets old fast. Folks saying the Titans are the laughingstock of the league? Give me a break. The NFL is a production business, and if decisions don't work, folks lose their jobs. Mike Vrabel and Jon Robinson are making decisions they believe are right ones because their futures are at stake a well. As for Bowen, I'm curious myself what the change in title means, because in reality he was the play-caller last season. I think simply having the title gives him more cred with the players, but what he needs most, in some cases, is better personnel to work with, and I'm talking specifically at edge rusher.
Randy Porter from Hendersonville, Tennessee
Question: Hi Jim. In these less than perfect times, I wanted to thank you for the new Mailbag humor. Anything to bring a smile, a chuckle, or a rib-splitting laugh, is certainly a bonus. That was the case in the last weekend Mailbag. I have to say, the suggestion that we demote Vrabel to DC or hotdog vendor or whatever and hire Eric Bieniemy as HC, started me laughing. THEN, the next strategic move "suggested", to offer to trade t-shirts, a helmet, beer, several draft picks and Tannehill, all to get D. Watson, well THAT broke me up !! Yep, by now I've spilled a drink and was holding my side ! The way these tidbits of wisdom were presented, as if they were serious and from sincere fans, was nothing short of comedic brilliance ! I love satirical and sarcastic humor, as do you Jim, and these were priceless ! Usually the Mailbag is chocked full of genuine questions and concerns from fans, so I never expected those gems. Still, they provided well-timed levity, among all the fan letters, voicing uncertainty over the recent promotions. So, I'll counter those "tactical brainstorms" by offering my own. I vote we NOT demote Vrabel, at least until all the "AFC South Champions" hats are sold out. And, I vote we NOT trade Tannehill for anyone ! Great joke though AND, if your circulation reaches France, you could rename to "Jim's Le Mailbag de HaHa".
Jim: Never a dull moment, huh Randy? Thanks.
Reuben Alvear from San Francisco, California
Question: Already there is lots of venom, doubt and hate being directed at Shane Bowen's promotion to
Titans' defensive coordinator. And the 2021 NFL season is nowhere near us. Tsk, tsk. Patience, people.
Give the man a chance.
Jim: Hope all is well, Reuben.
Alice Jones from Memphis, Tennessee
Question: Hi, Jim. 1st time writing (Yay) Congrats to the team on winning the AFC South! Congratulations to Mr. Arthur Smith on the HC job in ATL ( He Will Be Missed ) My ? Is Why didn't the Titans offer Dean Pees to come out of retirement and rejoin them as their DC? I read somewhere he's joining Mr. Smith in ATL. 🤔
Thanks for responding 😊. And Good luck Titans 2021
Jim: Hi Alice. It's my understanding Dean had an offer to come back in some capacity, but not as DC. And I also understand Dean had committed to Arthur. Here's my take, and I'm a big fan of Dean Pees: Vrabel wants some stability and less uncertainty on the coaching staff moving forward on defense, and Dean is a coach who has retired twice of late, once from the Ravens, and once from the Titans. Even after his first year in Tennessee, there were questions about whether he'd come back for his second season because of health concerns. He did end up coming back, and then he retired for a second time. I imagine Vrabel doesn't want to wonder about his status year-to-year, and he preferred someone who ideally could be around for a longer period of time. I know it's a decision that didn't please everyone in the fan base (does it ever?), but he's banking on Bowen to be that guy.
Cory Yates from Pekin, Illinois
Question: Reading the comments last week surprised me. I think a lot of people that are upset about the coaching decisions that have been made recently aren't thinking about what it's like to work in a professional work environment. When you work in a professional environment it's very important that you know the people you work with, get along with them well, and build/have positive relationships with them. This is essential and I think people forget real life isn't playing Madden GM. I think the head coach fully understands that he's got a good staff behind him at work well together. Of course improvements need to be made but I can remember when people complain about Arthur Smith being promoted. I just wanted to say that I think the right decision was made because of that. Also, it creates a culture that when coaches come to Tennessee they can be promoted from within. But it will be very important for attracting coaches here in the future that are of high caliber. Have a great week Jim!
Jim: Thanks for weighing in, Cory.
Greg Stauffer from Clarksville, Tennessee
Question: Jim, love your work! I have read everything I can about last year defensive shortcomings! I have a thought I want you to comment on: I used to live in St Louis and was a RAM fan! Prior to the Super Bowl the Rams had a great offense and really terrible defense! Coach Vermeil, fired the D- coordinator because the D was so complicated the players could not execute it! They were slow and never in the right position to make a play. He hired a D- Coordinator who ran a simple defensive scheme and they awent on to the super bowl! Of course us Titans fans were not pleased with that outcome. So since Coach Vrabel is acknowledged to have a high football IQ & is very good Head Coach, is it possible he designed a defense scheme he could execute but the players struggle with? If that was the case will he make adjustments? He did say they would improve our system when he announced Shane Bowen! My comment is if we improve our defensive scheme so we play fast without mistakes and J-Rob gets us a pass rush, we will have great 2021,👍, TITAN Up
Jim: Hey Greg. Personally, I don't expect a whole lot of changes on the defense. I do agree a defense that allows players to play faster would help, but I don't necessarily think that was the problem last season. I'm not saying the coaching was perfect, because it wasn't. But I don't think guys were necessarily bogged down. What I think would help most, and I've said this before, is signing and drafting players who will get after the quarterback. Let's face it, aside from Harold Landry the Titans didn't scare anybody off the edge last season. Sure, Jadeveon Clowney flashed, but he played half the season and for even some of those games he wasn't right. And there are some other positions on the defense that need to be upgraded as well. I appreciate your comments.
Have a great week everyone!